Hand, foot and mouth disease in an immunocompromised adult treated with aciclovir

Australas J Dermatol. 2003 Aug;44(3):203-6. doi: 10.1046/j.1440-0960.2003.00679.x.


A 27-year-old man, immunosuppressed from recent chemotherapy for metastatic Ewing's sarcoma, presented with a 1-week history of a painful, pruritic, papulovesicular eruption on the hands and feet. A diagnosis of hand, foot and mouth disease was made based on histology, detection of Enterovirus ribonucleic acid by polymerase chain reaction on a swab from a vesicle, and a four-fold increase in Enterovirus antibody levels. At no stage however, were there lesions in the mouth. Another unusual feature in this case was a prolonged course, presumably as a result of immunosuppression. After 3 1/2 weeks he was commenced on oral aciclovir 200 mg five times daily, with subsequent resolution of all lesions within 5 days. There may be a role for systemic aciclovir in some patients with hand, foot and mouth disease.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Acyclovir / therapeutic use
  • Adult
  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Enterovirus / isolation & purification
  • Enterovirus Infections / complications
  • Enterovirus Infections / diagnosis*
  • Enterovirus Infections / drug therapy
  • Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease / complications
  • Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease / diagnosis*
  • Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Immunocompromised Host*
  • Male
  • Sarcoma, Ewing / complications
  • Sarcoma, Ewing / therapy
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antiviral Agents
  • Acyclovir