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Coxsackie Virus and SIDS

February 2, 1997

I have asked these same questions to every professional I know and no one has given me an answer. My biggest fear was that I forgot to wash something he got his mouth on. I am also worried about the cat at the babysitters.

Docs--Does the medical profession have any idea where the cocksackie virus comes from and how it is spread?

In regard to the Coxsackie virus, it is one of a number of viruses that can cause respiratory or intestinal infections---"flu." There are seasonal peaks, but the virus is very common and transmitted from person to person just like a "cold" or any flu illness. Infections are sometimes not associated with any obvious symptoms, or the only symptom may be a fever. Heart and brain infections can occur, but very uncommonly. There is no specific way to avoid the virus different than "avoiding" the common cold---standard hand washing, etc. The most important point I can make now is that there is no way you could have avoided exposure to this virus since it is so common.

I hope this answers your question.

Carl E. Hunt, M.D.
Toledo/Washington D.C.

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