Contagious: Enteroviruses


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About contagion: Contagion and contagiousness refers to how easily the spread of Enteroviruses is possible from one person to another. Other words for contagion include "infection", "infectiousness", "transmission" or "transmissability". Contagiousness has nothing to do with genetics or inheriting diseases from parents. For an overview of contagion, see Introduction to Contagion.

Contagion discussion: Enteroviruses, the most common cause of viral meningitis, are most often spread through direct contact with respiratory secretions (e.g., saliva, sputum, or nasal mucus) of an infected person.  This usually happens by shaking hands with an infected person or touching something they have handled, and then rubbing your own nose, mouth or eyes.  The virus can also be found in the stool of persons who are infected.  The virus is spread through this route mainly among small children who are not yet toilet trained.  It can also be spread this way to adults changing the diapers of an infected infant.  The incubation period for enteroviruses is usually between 3 and 7 days from the time you are infected until you develop symptoms.  You can usually spread the virus to someone else beginning about 3 days after you are infected until about 10 days after you develop symptoms. 1

Enteroviruses can be found in the respiratory secretions (e.g., saliva, sputum, or nasal mucus) and stool of an infected person. Other persons may become infected by direct contact with secretions from an infected person or by contact with contaminated surfaces or objects, such as a drinking glass or telephone. Parents, teachers, and child care center workers may also become infected by contamination of the hands with stool from an infected infant or toddler during diaper changes. 2

Footnotes:
1. excerpt from Viral (Aseptic) Meningitis: DVRD
2. excerpt from Non-Polio Enterovirus Infections: DVRD

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