Enterovirus 71 infection: An experience in Korea, 2009

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Enterovirus 71 (EV71) has been recognized as a frequent cause of epidemics of hand-foot-and-mouth disease (HFMD) associated with severe neurological symptoms. In the spring of 2009, HFMD was epidemic in Korea. Severe cases with complication, including death, have been reported and it has become a public health issue. Most symptomatic EV71 infections commonly result in HFMD or herpangina. These clinical manifestations can be associated with neurologic syndromes frequently. Neurologic syndromes observed in EV71 include meningitis, meningoencephalomyelitis, poliomyelitis-like paralytic disease, Guillain-Barré syndrome, transverse myelitis, cerebellar ataxia, opsoclonus-myoclonus syndrome, benign intracranial hypertension, and brainstem encephalitis. Examinations for EV 71 were performed from the stools, respiratory secretion or CSF of the children by realtime PCR. Gene analysis showed that most of them were caused by EV71 subgenotype C4a which was prevalent in China, 2008. Public health measures including personal and environmental hygiene, must to target daycare centers, kindergartens, and schools where highly susceptible children congregate. To prevent the spread of infection, preschools where transmission persists for more than 2 incubation periods, have been recommended for closure, and trigger criteria for voluntary closure was instituted. During closure, operators are to thoroughly clean the centers before they are allowed to reopen. In addition, parents are advised to ensure that their children adopt a high standard of personal hygiene and to keep the infected child at home until full recovery. Because the outbreaks occur in a cyclical pattern, surveillance system to predict next outbreaks and adequate public health measures to control need to be planned for future. Control of EV71 epidemics through surveillance and public health intervention needs to be maintained in Korea. Future research should focus on understanding of EV71 virulence, identification of the receptor(s) for EV71, development of antiviral agents and development of vaccine.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)616-622
Number of pages7
JournalKorean Journal of Pediatrics
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2010


  • Enterovirus 71
  • Hand-foot-mouth disease
  • Outbreaks


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