Hoof and Mouth Disease in Humans

Reprinted from www.mad-cow-org <http://www.mad-cow-org> :

Comment (webmaster): Here again we see an obedient press serving up pig
swill for public consumption: humans cannot get foot-and-mouth disease; or
transmission is rare and symptoms are mild. And yet the disease sounds
rather unpleasant. Would serious long-term health problems occur in a large
exposed population in people having compromised immune systems? What about
pregnant women?

As with BSE, governments wants to bury human health concerns under a tall
stack of short-lived reassurances; the press cannot be bothered with 30
seconds of fact-checking at Medline
<http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi> . The review article below
paints a rather different picture of the rarity of transmission:
Foot- and-mouth disease as zoonosis.

Arch Virol Suppl 1997;13:95-7 by Bauer KMan's susceptibility to the virus of
foot- and-mouth disease (FMD) was debated for many years. Today the virus
has been isolated and typed (type O, followed by type C and rarely A) in
more than 40 human cases. So no doubt remains that FMD is a zoonosis.
Considering the high incidence of the disease (in animals) in the past and
in some areas up to date, occurrence in man is quite rare.

In the past when FMD was endemic in Central Europe many cases of diseases in
man showing vesicles in the mouth or on the hands and feet were called FMD.
The first suggestion of a human infection with FMD was reported in 1695 by
Valentini in Germany]. All reports before 1897, the year of the discovery of
the virus of FMD by Loeffler and Frosch, were not of course confirmed either
by isolation of the virus or by identification of immunoglobulins after
infection. Nevertheless the successful self-infection reported by Hertwig in
1834 most likely seems to have been FMD in man: each of three veterinarians
drank 250 ml of milk from infected cows on four consecutive days. The three
men developed clinical manifestations.

Beginning in 1921 up to 1969 at least 38 papers were published, which
described clinically manifest FMD in man in more than 40 proven cases. One
further reported described an asymptomatic infection with FMD in man.
Criteria for establishing a diagnosis of FMD in man are the isolation of the
virus from the patient and/or identification of specific antibodies after
infection. Laboratory tests for diagnosis of human FMD are the same as for
animals. Proven cases of FMD in man have occurred in several countries in
Europe, Africa and South America. The type of virus most frequently isolated
man is type O followed by type C and rarely A. The incubation period in man,
although somewhat variable, has not been found to be less than two days and
rarely more than six days.

It is interesting to note that suspected and confirmed human cases must have
no contact with susceptible livestock to avoid transmitting the disease,
though person to person spread has not been reported

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