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Coxsackieviruses: Types, Signs and Symptoms

Introduction

Coxsackieviruses are non-enveloped viruses which have a linear single-stranded Ribonucleic acid (RNA) (Tracy and Mahy 44). They are classified in the family Picornaviridae and their genus is Enterovirus (Tracy and Mahy 45). They share the same genus with other viruses such as echovirus and poliovirus. Coxsackieviruses are very common pathogens which often reside in the human digestive track. The virus is very active in hot and wet climate. In cooler regions, the outbreak is very low because the virus remains inactive. That is why in Europe the outbreak of this disease occurs majorly during summer. Coxsackieviruses can remain inactive for a very long time, making it one of the infectious diseases that are very complex to eradicate once an outbreak occurs in a given region (Bendinelli and Friedman 38). It gets active as soon as its immediate environment becomes warm. In this paper, the researcher will critically analyze this disease to understand its causes, symptoms, contagiousness, prevention, and treatment methods.

Types of Coxsackieviruses

According to Padalko, Coxsackieviruses can be grouped into two main types. They include Coxsackie A and Coxsackie B (38). Once the virus gets into a cell, it makes its membrane weak, forcing it to rapture (Tracy and Mahy 62). Coxsackie A causes serious muscle injury, paralysis, and in some instances death. It is rare but has very serious consequences. Coxsackie B on the other hand causes organ damage but it has less severe consequences. Scientists have confirmed that there are 24 different serotypes of Coxsackieviruses with distinct protein on their viral surface (Tracy and Mahy 64).

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Signs and symptoms

In most of the cases, people infected with this virus show no symptoms, especially if the level of infection is relatively low. However, Cruickshank says that some of the most common symptoms include high fever, muscle ache, headache, nausea, abdominal discomfort, or sore throat (22). These symptoms may last for about three days before getting resolved even when medication is not administered. In some severe cases, it may cause painful blisters hard plate, throat, gums, tongue, inner parts of the chicks, soles of feet, and palms (Padalko 49). The condition may cause pain when one is walking, handling objects using hands, or when eating. In rare cases, the virus may attack the whites of the eye, causing pain, and then the eye turns red and watery (Evans 48). If not arrested in time, the eye may start swelling and being sensitive to light and the patient may start having blurred vision.

Contagiousness

Coxsackieviruses are a highly contagious virus that can easily be passed from an infected person to a healthy individual. The primary mode of transmission is respiratory aerosols and fecal-oral route (Tracy and Drescher 78). That is why the virus is common among children. When they touch contaminated surfaces and take their hand to their mouths without washing them, then the virus easily finds its way into the body system. When they play with dust that is contaminated, they also risk getting the disease. Cruickshank says that there is a slim possibility that the virus can be transmitted via fomites (31).

Preventions

The best way of preventing this disease is to maintain high level of hygiene. Cruickshank suggests that there should be a proper disposal of feces, especially in the environment that is frequented by children (95). The authorities should ensure that in residential areas, all the sewerage system functions properly and that there are no leakages that may pose danger of the spread of the virus. Children, and even adults, should be advised to avoid eating before washing their hands. In fact, they should not take their hands to their mouth before washing their hands. Children should be discouraged from playing in contaminated grounds.

Treatments

When the infection is not severe, the condition may resolve itself after three days. However, supportive Medicare may be offered to help in managing the painful discomforts. Bendinelli and Friedman say that anteroviral capsid-stabilizing drug is often used to make the symptoms less severe (112). Pleconaril is used when the immune system of the patient is compromised. Most of the treatments are offered without the need for admissions. However, in extreme cases, it may be necessary to admit the patient to deal with the symptoms effectively. Sometimes treatment of Coxsackieviruses may involve surgical intervention, especially among the patients suffering from type of the disease.

Conclusion

Coxsackieviruses are highly contagious and can cause varying effect on their host depending on the type and level of infection. Managing the disease among the adults who understand the relevance of maintaining high level of hygiene is easy. However, children easily contract this disease because they rarely take seriously the issue of hygiene. It is the responsibility of the society in general to ensure that the environment within which children play is kept clean. It is also important to educate children about maintenance of hygiene and the need to wash hands before eating anything. It is through maintenance of high level of hygiene that an outbreak of the virus can be avoided.