Humans can be infected with FMD through contact with infected animals, but this is extremely rare. Some cases were caused by laboratory accidents. Because the virus that causes FMD is sensitive to stomach acid, it cannot spread to humans via consumption of infected meat, except in the mouth before the meat is swallowed. In the UK, the last confirmed human case occurred in 1966, and only a few other cases have been recorded in countries of continental Europe, Africa, and South America. Symptoms of FMD in humans include malaise, fever, vomiting, red ulcerative lesions (surface-eroding damaged spots) of the oral tissues, and sometimes vesicular lesions (small blisters) of the skin. According to a newspaper report, FMD killed two children in England in 1884, supposedly due to infected milk.
Another viral disease with similar symptoms, hand, foot and mouth disease, occurs more frequently in humans, especially in young children; the cause, Coxsackie A virus, is different from the FMD virus. Coxsackie viruses belong to the Enteroviruses within the Picornaviridae.
Because FMD rarely infects humans, but spreads rapidly among animals, it is a much greater threat to the agriculture industry than to human health. Farmers around the world can lose enormous amounts of money during a foot-and-mouth epizootic, when large numbers of animals are destroyed, and revenues from milk and meat production go down