Enterovirus infection: symptoms and treatment

Enterovirus infection is a group of infectious diseases of acute course that affect not only adults but also children. A characteristic feature of this disorder is that enteroviruses initially multiply in the gastrointestinal organs, but do not cause the expression of symptoms of intestinal diseases. The second place of localization of bacterial reproduction is the mucous membranes of respiratory organs. Often bacteria spread and affect the skin, heart, spinal cord or brain. The activity of viruses can cause both a severe deterioration in the health of the child, and cause a minor malaise. The incubation period is from two to thirty days, but often is not more than a week. Often children or young people are affected by the disease.

The main methods of transmission of the disease are non-compliance with personal hygiene, contaminated hands or objects that children often pull into the mouth. In addition, there is the possibility of infection with this disease from an already infected person — by airborne droplets. There is a probability of having an inborn disease, when the future mother is a carrier of a pathological virus.

Enterovirus infection in adults and children is characterized by the appearance of rashes on the skin, a significant increase in body temperature, malaise and diarrhea. The diseases of this group include — enteroviral fever, herpangina, serous meningitis, myocarditis, conjunctivitis, uveitis. Several times, there are fewer forms, such as nephritis, pancreatitis, encephalitis and pericarditis. The treatment is aimed at the use of specially prescribed medicines and compliance with the diet.


There are several ways to transmit or get the virus into the human body. The main way is considered to be infection from another person, who is the carrier of the disease or the ingestion of foods, liquids or soil (which is most characteristic of children) with a high content of pathogenic bacteria. This is due to the fact that the virus can long maintain its viability in the environment. The second most important is airborne infection. In such cases, the virus multiplies in the respiratory tract and is transmitted through coughing or sneezing. In addition, not the least role in contamination is played by contaminated wastewater, which is watered with vegetables or fruits. Also, there is a high probability that a person will fall ill when bathing in infected reservoirs and accidentally getting such a liquid into the body of an adult or child.

Enterovirus infection is considered a highly contagious disease, since there are more than seventy types of viruses. The peak incidence is observed in the warm season. A large number of cases of such an illness in children from three to ten years old has been recorded. After recovery, people get immunity to the type of virus that became the causative agent of the disease. Adolescents and people of the middle age group get sick much less often — infection can be caused by the lack of immunity to a particular type of bacteria.


In terms of the duration of symptoms, this disorder is divided into several stages and can be:

  • sharp — duration not more than one month
  • protracted — less than three months;
  • Chronic — from three or more months.

There is a classification of the disease at the site of localization of the pathological process. Thus, enterovirus infection in children and older people can cause:

  1. Serous meningitis — inflammation of the solid brain tissue is observed
  2. herpetic tonsillitis — characterized by inflammation of the mucous membranes of the mouth and tonsils
  3. enteroviral fever — internal organs are not involved in the disease process, but there is a sharp increase in body temperature
  4. epidemic myalgia — characterized by the presence of muscle weakness;
  5. enteroviral exanthema — the occurrence of rashes and lesions on the skin
  6. Enteroviral encephalitis
  7. encephalomyocarditis in newborns — differs in involvement in heart and brain disease in infants
  8. paralysis — is the involvement of the spinal cord and nerves
  9. Enteroviral diarrhea.

Inflammation of other internal organs is quite rare, as well as a combination of several forms of the disease.


There are characteristic signs for each type and place of origin of the disease. Symptoms of enterovirus infection, which are typical for all variants of the pathology:

  • increase in body temperature, from minor digits to febrile states
  • weakness of the body
  • Decrease or total aversion to food
  • chills;
  • Severe anxiety in adults
  • increased crying in children

In addition, this disease is characterized by a wave flow, which is caused by apparent relief and recovery, followed by a sharp deterioration in the patient’s condition.

In addition, enterovirus fever is characterized by such signs as:

  1. Headache attacks
  2. abdominal cramps;
  3. persistent nausea;
  4. sensation of soreness in the muscles.

Herpetic tonsillitis is characterized by such symptoms:

  • severe sore throat;
  • the appearance on the mucous membrane of the mouth of small bubbles with a turbid liquid in the middle. After they burst in their place there are small wounds;
  • the expression of such rashes on the skin.

Symptoms of enterovirus serous meningitis:

  1. increased sensitivity of the skin to external stimuli
  2. increased susceptibility to too bright sunlight or artificial light
  3. loss of consciousness, fainting. A coma is often observed;
  4. cramps;
  5. newborns have sharp cries, a ripple of the fontanelle
  6. strong agitation, followed by apathy

The main signs of newborn encephalomyocarditis:

  • diarrhea;
  • runny nose
  • heart rate increase;
  • the appearance of a bluish hue on the skin
  • shortness of breath;
  • swelling of the upper and lower extremities.

With a severe form of the disease, the child’s death occurs. This outcome is observed in half the cases.

For pericarditis and myocarditis, soreness is present in the region of the heart and chest, rapid pulse and muscle pain. Enterovirus diarrhea is characterized by such signs as:

  1. foamy and liquid stools, which often have a green tint
  2. severe soreness in the abdomen
  3. frequent vomiting.

For other forms, a mixed expression of enteroviral infection symptoms in children and adults, as well as damage to the organs of vision, their mucous or iris, and the liver is characteristic.


Almost in all cases of the disease of this group occur without the occurrence of any complications and have a favorable prognosis. Possible consequences can be:

  • increased intracranial pressure
  • Hearing acuity reduction
  • minor paralysis;
  • attenuation of one half of the body
  • Fits of weakness and migraines
  • epilepsy;
  • Death — often occurs with brain damage or paralysis.


A group of these diseases in children and older people is diagnosed against the background of specific features. To establish an accurate diagnosis, the physician should examine the patient’s entire medical history, find out the duration of the symptoms of enterovirus infection. Obligatory for the diagnosis are laboratory tests, including blood and fecal counts, secreted conjunctival fluid, scraping with skin rashes, and the study of cerebrospinal fluid, which is taken with puncture.

If the patients are children, they may need additional examinations of pediatrician, cardiologist, neurologist, otolaryngologist and ophthalmologist. In addition, differential diagnosis should be carried out with such diseases as measles, poliomyelitis, rubella, scarlet fever or ARVI.

In all cases, hardware examinations of the patient are carried out for both the adult and the child. This is done to identify the form of this ailment. They include:

  1. electroencephalography — with suspicions of encephalitis
  2. echocardiography — appointed in cases of myocarditis prescribing by the attending physician
  3. chest radiography;
  4. check with an ophthalmologist using a special lamp


Treatment of enterovirus infection is to reduce the degree of manifestation of symptoms and eliminate the virus, which led to the emergence of a disease. Often, such medications as anti-inflammatory and antipyretic drugs, antispasmodics and antihistamines are prescribed. In cases of a secondary infectious process, antibiotics are prescribed. If the nervous system is affected, the patient should take corticosteroids and diuretics. In addition, you can use broths of chamomile, dogrose and cranberries, which contain a high concentration of vitamin C. In the light stages, the medications are administered individually for each patient. In this case, the specialist is based on the form of the disease and the degree of expression of symptoms.

In severe cases, treatment of enterovirus infection in children and adults is carried out in a hospital. To do this, injections of saline solutions, vitamin complexes and glucose. Antibacterial substances are also prescribed, but only in cases of attachment of a secondary inflammatory process.

Diet for enterovirus infection in children, middle-aged and older people plays a significant role in therapy. The basis of it is a plentiful drink purified by warm water, compotes, fruit drinks, weak tea, but by no means sweet soda water. This must be done in order to restore the water balance, which is disturbed in the body against a background of frequent diarrhea and vomiting. Preference in food is worth giving away boiled, cooked in the oven or a couple of dishes, as well as the first dishes, cooked on low-fat broth. Eating at the same time should be done in small portions five times a day. However, it should not be too cold or too hot. With timely treatment, in most cases, complete recovery and recovery of the normal course of life occurs.

There is no special prophylaxis for this disease, it is only necessary to thoroughly wash hands, vegetables and fruits before meals, refuse bathing in polluted rivers, lakes or fountains. It is necessary to accustom the child to hardening and avoiding strong hypothermia of the body. Timely treat ARVI and other viral diseases and take vitamin complexes in the cold season. It should be limited to any contact with an infected human enterovirus infection.