Print E-mail
Volume 50, Number 1, February 2017

Predicting severe enterovirus 71 infection: Age, comorbidity, and parental behavior matter

Wen-Chan Huang, Wei-Liang Shih, Shun-Cheng Yang, Ting-Yu Yen, Jian-Te Lee, Yi-Chuan Huang, Chung-Chen Li, Yu-Chia Hsieh, Tzou-Yin Lin, Luan-Yin Chang, Li-Min Huang


Corresponding author:

Luan-Ying Chang, Corresponding author. Department of Pediatrics, National Taiwan University Hospital and College of Medicine, National Taiwan University, 8 Chung-Shan South Road, Taipei 10002, Taiwan. 


Background and purpose: 

Enterovirus 71 (EV71) is one of the major pathogens that cause severe enteroviral infections. Our aim was to study the behavioral and household risk factors for its serious complications.




Between May 2011 and November 2012, we enrolled children who had symptoms of EV71 infection from six hospitals in Taiwan. The caregivers of each patient were interviewed to determine their hand hygiene habits in relation to EV71 infection. The severity of EV71 infection was classified as follows: Stage 1, hand–foot–mouth disease or herpangina; Stage 2, meningitis or myoclonic jerk; Stage 3A, encephalitis; Stage 3B, cardiopulmonary failure. Stages 2 to 3B were defined as severe EV71 infection. Children with Stages 3A and 3B infection were designated as the critical group. 



A total of 399 patients had laboratory-confirmed EV71 infection. Three risks factors were associated with the different degrees of severity in EV71 infection. Children <2 years old had much greater risks for severe EV71 infection [odds ratio (OR) 1.8; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.2–2.8], delayed medical evaluation for critical infection (OR 9.4; 95% CI, 3.6–24.1), and developmental retardation for cardiopulmonary failure (OR 8.3; 95% CI, 2.0–33.7). Among all the habits and household factors, caregivers in the critical group had a significantly lower rate in terms of cleaning the faucet after washing their hands (OR 2.63; 95% CI, 1.14–6.08). 



Children <2 years old, developmental retardation, and delayed medical intervention were associated with severe EV71 infection. Cleaning water faucets after hand washing was a protective habit that reduced the risk of complications. 


Key words:

developmental delay, enterovirus 71, hand–foot–mouth disease, hand hygiene, herpangina, risk factors