Enteroviruses are viruses that are contagious and can cause a typically mild infection.
Enteroviruses spread from person-to-person, causing a variety of infectious illnesses that are usually mild. When an enterovirus affects the central nervous system, however, it can be more serious. An enterovirus can also affect the spleen, liver, bone marrow, skin or heart.
Some of the types of infections caused by enteroviruses include:
- Conjunctivitis (pink eye)
- Hand, foot and mouth disease (contagious infection that causes sores in the mouth and a rash on the hands and feet)
- Meningitis (swelling of the membranes around the brain and spinal cord)
- Myocarditis (inflammation of the heart)
- Pericarditis (inflammation of the membrane that surrounds the heart)
- Respiratory infections, including the common cold
- Spastic paralysis (spasms and reflex problems due to damage to the central nervous system)
Enteroviruses are contagious and spread by being in close proximity to someone who has the virus. They can spread by coming into physical contact with someone with an enterovirus or through droplets in the air – such as through coughing or sneezing. Children with asthma are at an increased risk of infection.
Signs and symptoms of enteroviruses include:
- Body and muscle aching
- Runny nose