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Is Foot and Mouth Disease Dangerous for Humans?

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Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) infection in humans is very rare and has a harmless course. The economic dangers are more important than the health risks if the epidemic spreads and entire animal populations have to be destroyed as a result.

Foot and mouth disease (FMD) is a viral disease that mainly affects articular ungulates such as cattle, pigs, sheep and goats. The virus is spread worldwide with the exception of North America, New Zealand and Australia. The transmission of the pathogen to humans is very rare. Infection is possible through direct contact with infected animals, contaminated objects or through the air.

In humans, the disease manifests itself as an inflammatory skin change. Very rarely there is a febrile general reaction with a rash after 2-8 days. As a rule, spontaneous healing occurs quickly. Complications involving the central nervous system are not yet known in humans. However, humans can harbor the pathogen on the mucous membranes for several months and infect other animals or people.
In animals, the feverish viral disease leads to the formation of vesicles (canker sores) and erosions on mucous membranes and hairless parts of the skin, especially in the area of ​​the mouth and claws. The disease usually does not lead to death in adult animals. B. cause a long-lasting decline in performance in cattle. Damage to the heart muscle can occur in young animals.
The FMD virus is very resistant. So it stays z. B. in insufficiently heated milk products, frozen or cured meat for months, in dry milk for up to 18 months and on cattle hair for up to 4 weeks. Rapid inactivation takes place in sunlight, drought, pH values ​​below 6.0 and temperatures above 50 degrees C.

FMD in farm animals is notifiable and treatment is prohibited in most countries. Suspected disease and sick animals are culled and the carcasses disposed of. In addition, there are extensive blocking and quarantine measures, among other things, the movement of people and animals is severely restricted.

Literature:
N.N .: Foot and Mouth Disease. 3 p., From: http://www.animal-health-online.de/drms/mks1.htm from 05.03.2001 N.N .: foot and mouth disease. 1 p., From: http://www.medizin-netz.de/reisemedizin/japan.htm

Status: 2007


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