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The BBC's Catherine Marston
"The possible risk to human health is now a constant worry for many"
 real 56k

Tuesday, 24 April, 2001, 14:03 GMT 15:03 UK
Farm disease 'victim' awaits results
Pyre burns on Arscott Farm near Holsworthy, Devon
The impact of pyres on human health is investigated
Test results are due on a man believed to be the first human victim of foot-and-mouth during this crisis.

This comes ahead of findings expected later this week into the risks to humans from potentially carcinogenic dioxins released from animal pyres.

And the outbreak has also forced the cancellation of the Isle of Man TT races.

Foot-and-mouth facts
Total number of confirmed foot-and-mouth cases in the UK 1,456 - 4 on Tuesday
1,974,000 animals have been slaughtered
232,000 animals awaiting slaughter

By Tuesday the total number of confirmed foot-and-mouth cases in the UK had reached 1,456.

The man suspected of being the first human victim of foot-and-mouth disease in the current outbreak is awaiting blood test results.

The contractor had been helping with the slaughtering and disposal of animals in Cumbria.

Experts say the illness is only mild in humans.

Dr Peter Tiplady, of North Cumbria Health Authority, said the man developed symptoms, including ulcers in the mouth and sore itchy hands, two weeks after he was accidentally sprayed with some material from a cow.

Dr Peter Tiplady
Dr Tiplady: Man expected to make a full recovery
"It is not a very serious illness. He is not at all unwell, and we expect him to make a complete recovery," he said.

Scientific advice is that it is highly improbable for the virus to pass from animals into the human population, so the general population is not at risk.

Angus Nichol, director of the communicable diseases surveillance unit of the Public Health Laboratory Service, said: "Basically this is an animal virus - it doesn't like human beings."

The only previous human case in the UK was in 1966, when a single patient suffered no long-lasting effects to his health.

Meanwhile there are growing concerns about pollutants being given off from the burning pyres.

Decision on races

Officials in Devon and Wales are checking sites for a range of pollutants.

Environment Minister Michael Meacher has conceded the pyres could be a health risk.

On the Isle of Man farmers feared the 40,000 spectators to the TT races would increase the risk of bringing the disease to the island and put its Loaghtan sheep in danger.

We have a quarter of a million livestock here and we are foot-and-mouth free as we were in 1967

Tynwald spokesman

The island's chief minister Donald Gelling made the expected announcement following a sitting of the Tynwald parliament on Tuesday.

The motorbike trials, which started in 1907, have only been cancelled during wartime and were postponed in 1966 during the national seamen's strike.

Meanwhile at a meeting of EU Agricultural ministers in Luxembourg on Tuesday Austria will ask for a suspension of anti-fraud measures on farms getting EU subsidies to halt the further spread of foot-and-mouth.

Farms are checked to ensure farmers are not cheating on the amount of subsidies they are entitled to.

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See also:

23 Apr 01 | Health
'A mild and transient disease'
23 Apr 01 | Health
Human foot-and-mouth: The history
24 Apr 01 | Motorsport
Disease threatens TT races
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