Acute Communicable
Disease Control

Contact Information
County of Los Angeles
Department of Public Health
Acute Communicable Disease Control
313 N. Figueroa Street, #212
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Phone: (213) 240-7941
Fax: (213) 482-4856

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Acute Communicable Disease Control
Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD)

Hand, foot, and mouth disease, or HFMD, is a contagious illness that is caused by different viruses. Infants and children younger than 5 years old are more likely to get this disease. However, older children and adults can also get it. In the United States it is more common for people to get HFMD from spring to fall. Symptoms usually begin with a fever, reduced appetite, sore throat, and a feeling of being unwell. A day or two after the fever starts painful sores can develop in the mouth. A skin rash with flat red spots may also develop on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. Sometimes a rash also occurs on the knees, elbows, and buttocks. HFMD is usually not serious. The illness is typically mild, and nearly all patients recover in 7 to 10 days without medical treatment. There is no specific treatment or vaccine to prevent HFMD. Fever and pain can be managed with over-the-counter fever reducers and pain relievers, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. You can reduce the risk of getting infected with the viruses that cause HFMD by: washing your hands especially after changing diapers; avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands; avoiding close contact (kissing, hugging, sharing cups and eating utensils) with people who are infected with HFMD; and, cleaning frequently touched surfaces (toys, doorknobs, etc.), especially if someone is sick

Additional Resources


HFMD Fact Sheets in Multiple Languages
California Dept. of Education Health Services
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Public Health has made reasonable efforts to provide accurate translation. However, no computerized translation is perfect and is not intended to replace traditional translation methods. If questions arise concerning the accuracy of the information, please refer to the English edition of the website, which is the official version.
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