Humans Appear Healthy

The first 13 humans tested for foot-and-mouth disease have all been cleared, but two more suspected cases are being investigated, the Public Health Laboratory Service said Saturday.
With the spread of virulent livestock disease appearing to slow among animals, the possible human cases had threatened to deal a bitter blow to Britain's tourist industry, which had hoped visitors would return as the disease was stamped out.

Agriculture Minister Nick Brown said Thursday he was "cautiously optimistic" that the disease was being tackled.

The Ministry of Agriculture said 13 new cases of foot-and-mouth disease in livestock were confirmed in the 24-hour period ending Friday evening, raising the total to 1,495 since the first case was confirmed on Feb. 20.

Among those humans given an initial clean bill of health was a slaughterman who accidentally got fluid from a decomposing carcass in his mouth, authorities said Friday.

Paul Stamper, 33, came into contact with fluid from a slaughtered cow as he worked moving carcasses at a farm in Cumbria, north of Manchester, earlier this month.

He subsequently developed symptoms that included blisters in his mouth. Doctors say there can be many causes for such blisters and have not said specifically what caused Stamper's symptoms.

There has been only one reported case of the disease in a human in the United Kingdom and it occurred during the last epidemic of foot-and-mouth disease to sweep across British farms 24 years ago.

Click here to learn more about the disease.

In total, there have been about 40 reported cases of the disease around the world since medical journals began recording it in 1834.
The last human case involved Bobby Brewis, who was 34 and lived on a farm in northeast England when he contracted the virus in 1966. He had a mild temperature, a sore throat and blisters on the palms of his hands, the normal symptoms of the disease in humans.

Victims make a full recovery. It is most often compared to getting the flu.

The earliest report of human infection — long before the technology to prove the presence of virus was developed — was reported in 1695 in Germany.

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