A Case of Transmission of Foot and Mouth Disease from Animals to Man

A Case of Transmission of Foot and Mouth Disease from Animals to Man

The Veterinary Journal 79(1922):428-9
Vincent Boyle, M.R.C.V.S., Veterinary Inspector, Ministry of Agriculture

"It is not intended to deal at length with the occurence of foot-and-mouth disease in the human subject in this note, but just to set out briefly the circumstances under which, in one instance, foot-and-mouth disease was contracted by the human subject through contact with infected animals.

An outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease occured on a farm in Suffolk in November, 1920. The veterinary surgeon who dealt with animals on the affected farm, and whose duty it was to examine each animal, was in contact with diseased cattle on four consecutive days, November 21 to November 24, 1920.

On December 5 he fell ill, complained of headache and general malaise, and showed elevated temperature (101.4). On December 8 vesicles appeared on the iner surface of the lips, and on the gums above and below the incisor teeth, and during the following three days up to December 11 further vesicles formed on the hard palate and tongue.

The general condition of the patient became worse, elevated temperature persisted, there were periods of delerium and semi-consciousness, and the heart had by this time become infected. The exact nature of the lesion, I don't know, but I understand it was endocarditis, involving the valves, especially the aortic.

By December 25 an improvement had set in, and the lesions in his mouth healed gradually. Inprovement continued, though convalescence was prolonged.

The exact method of infection is not clear, but probably it was through particles of saliva, shed epithelium, etc., contaminated with virus, reaching the face and lips of the examiner during the examination of the mouth lesions of the affected sheep.

With regard to the heart lesions, I have noticed on post-mortem examinations of young bovines which had died, or were destroyed, owing to foot-and-mouth disease, that the valves on both sides of the heart were considerably thickened and showed extensivce hemorrages on their surfaces.

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