Four more tested for human form of foot-and-mouth disease

April 27, 2001 The Independent (London) by Paul Peachey
FOUR MORE people were being tested for foot-and-mouth disease yesterday amid widespread concern over the direct health risks to humans.

Samples were passed on to the Central Public Health Laboratory after the four visited their GPs complaining of blisters and flu-like symptoms. The names of the latest suspected cases and their locations were not being disclosed, a spokesman for the north London laboratory said.

Hundreds of people have contacted health experts at the laboratory in Colindale after the first cases in humans came to light. Three other people are already being tested for the disease, including Paul Stamper, a father of two, from Dearham, Cumbria. He developed the symptoms after he was covered in fluid from a dead cow that exploded as he helped to clear slaughtered cattle from a farm. He was not wearing a mask and spat out the fluid as quickly as he could. He said he did not think the soaking was dangerous.

Mr Stamper, 33, a farming machinery contractor, said he feared for his livelihood even if he did not have the disease. "Now the Government is saying there is some slight possibility of catching it," he said. "That wasn't the case when I first went on (to the farms). Nobody was led to believe there was a slight possibility of catching this.

"The public will probably just think, if I get the all clear, there's just a cover-up behind it and I might have it and they might not let me on their farms. It is quite worrying," he told ITV's Tonight With Trevor McDonald last night.

The results of the tests are not expected until next week. Six people who were tested for the disease earlier in the epidemic have already been given the all clear.

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