The Sept. 18 Health & Science article “Severe strain of childhood virus emerges” noted that an unusual form of hand, foot and mouth disease has hit the United States. My pediatric practice in Alexandria saw three times as many children with this disease in the first half of this year as in all of 2011. These children had larger and more extensive lesions than in typical cases of Coxsackie virus, which causes the disease.
The article noted that researchers believe that last year’s unusually mild winter might be related to the appearance of the virus out of its normal season. It is important to recognize that this change is likely part of a broader shift in infectious-disease patterns due to a changing climate.