The aim of the present study was to develop a clinical scoring system for the diagnosis of hand-foot-mouth disease (HFMD) with improved accuracy.
A retrospective analysis was performed on standardized patient-history and clinical-examination data obtained from 1435 pediatric patients under the age of three years who presented with acute rash illness and underwent enterovirus nucleic-acid-detection testing. Patients were then divided into the HFMD (1094 patients) group or non-HFMD (341 patients) group based on a positive or a negative result from the assay, respectively. Multivariate logistic regression was performed on 15 clinical variables (e.g. age, exposure history, number of rash spots in a single body region) to identify variables highly predictive of a positive diagnosis. Using the variables with high impact on the diagnostic accuracy, we generated a scoring system for predicting HFMD.
Using the logistic model, we identified seven clinical variables (age, exposure history, and rash density at specific regions of the body) to be included into the scoring system. While the final scores ranged from −4 to 23 (higher score positively predicted a HFMD diagnosis), a cutoff score of 7 resulted in a sensitivity of 0.74 and specificity of 0.69.
This study establishes an objective scoring system for the diagnosis of typical and atypical HFMD using measures accessible through routine clinical encounters. Due to the accuracy and sensitivity achieved by this scoring system, it can be employed as a rapid, low-cost method for establishing diagnoses in children with acute rash illness.