How the infection is spread

Bornholm disease is caused by a group of viruses called enteroviruses, mainly the Coxsackie B virus.

It spreadsby the faecal-oral route, where traces of contaminated faeces (poo) reach the mouth. Less commonly, it can be spreadthrough respiratory droplets in much the same way as the common cold .

The virusesare found in faeces and the millions of tiny droplets that come out of the nose and mouth when someone with the condition coughs or sneezes.

Hands, water or food can become contaminated by the virus. Respiratory droplets can also hang suspended in the air before falling to contaminate surfaces. Anyone who touches these surfaces can spread the virus by touching something else.

A person usually becomes infected by picking up the virus on their hands from contaminated objects, such as a nappy or toilet, and then placing their hands in their mouth.

Other ways the virus can be spread include drinking contaminated water and breathing in contaminated droplets from the air.

This is why it's very important to wash your hands properly and avoid sharing utensils if you've been infected with the virus or if someone close to you has Bornholm disease.

Newborn babies

It's possible for an infected mother to pass the virus on to her newborn baby. Infection in newborns varies in severity. Some babies won't have any symptoms, while others will have a severe or even fatal illness.

Babies with severe illness may benefit from immunoglobulin treatment. Advice should be sought from medical virologists (specialists in the treatment of viruses), infectious disease doctors, orthe virus reference department (VRD) .

Content supplied by the NHS Website

Medically Reviewed by a doctor on 21 Dec 2018