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Enteroviruses (EV) are members of the picornavirus family, a large group of positive-sense single-stranded RNA viruses. Enteroviruses have a complex taxonomy. There are 12 species in the enterovirus genus and many serotypes of each species. Other picornaviruses include poliovirus, echovirus, parechovirus, coxsackievirus, and rhinovirus.  Enteroviruses are associated with a large number of different diseases especially in infants and young children.

Enterovirus infections

Enteroviruses are very common and cause widespread infection in humans. Poliomyelitis caused by the enterovirus, poliovirus, was a major concern in the past, but still has not been eradicated. There are 62 non-polio enteroviruses that can cause disease in humans: 23 Coxsackie A viruses, 6 Coxsackie B viruses, 28 echoviruses, and 5 other enteroviruses. Infection with enteroviruses range from mild respiratory illness (common cold), hand, foot and mouth disease, and conjunctivitis,to serious infections such as aseptic meningitismyocarditis, severe neonatal sepsis-like disease. Enterovirus 71 (EV-71), a causative agent for hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD), has been associated with severe central nervous system disease.


Many enteroviruses such as poliovirus, as well as coxsackie and echovirus are spread through the fecal-oral route and many others are spread through respiratory secretions and fomites.


Diagnosis depends on careful documentation of all signs and symptoms coupled with laboratory testing.  Traditionally, laboratories used viral culture to detect enteroviruses. The direct fluorescent antibody (DFA) method allows detection of virus within 2-3 hours, but is labor intensive and requires considerable experience.  Molecular methods such as reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR)-based tests are the most accurate methods to detect enteroviruses.

Medical Management of Enterovirus infection
Management of an EV infection is generally focused on symptomatic therapy.  

Prevention of PIV infection

There are effective vaccines for poliovirus, but there are no vaccines for other enteroviruses. Prevention of EV infection depends on good hygienic methods to reduce the spread of the virus.

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