In general, group A coxsackieviruses tend to infect the skin and mucous membranes, causing
herpangina, acute hemorrhagic conjunctivitis (AHC), and
hand-foot-and-mouth (HFM) disease.
The coxsackieviruses were discovered in 1948-49 by Gilbert Dalldorf, a scientist working at the New York State Department of Health in
Albany, New York.
Dr. Dalldorf, in collaboration with Grace Sickles, had been searching for a cure for the dreaded disease
polio. Earlier work Dalldorf had done in monkeys suggested that fluid collected from a non-polio virus preparation could protect against the crippling effects of polio.
Using newborn mice as a vehicle, Dalldorf attempted to isolate such protective viruses from the feces of polio patients.
In carrying out these experiments, he discovered viruses that often mimicked mild or nonparalytic polio.
The virus family he discovered was eventually given the name Coxsackie, for the town of
Coxsackie, New York, a small town on the Hudson River where Dalldorf had obtained the first fecal specimens.
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