What are enteroviruses?

Updated: Mar 17, 2021
  • Author: Robert A Schwartz, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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Answer

The human enteroviruses are ubiquitous viruses that are transmitted from person to person via direct contact with virus shed from the gastrointestinal or upper respiratory tract. Poliovirus, the prototypical enterovirus, can cause a subclinical or mild illness, aseptic meningitis, or paralytic poliomyelitis. The nonpolio viruses (group A and B coxsackieviruses, echoviruses, enteroviruses) are responsible for a wide spectrum of diseases in persons of all ages, although infection and illness occur most commonly in infants.

Drinking water in the developing world may have a high prevalence of enteric viruses (Rashid 2021). In Karachi, enteric viruses were commonly found, with human enteroviruses documented in 43% of tap water samples. 

See 11 Travel Diseases to Consider Before and After the Trip, a Critical Images slideshow, to help identify and manage several infectious travel diseases.


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