Can people catch foot and mouth disease?

Yes, it's possible but extremely rare, even for people who work closely with infected animals. Only a few cases of humans getting foot and mouth disease have ever been recorded.

What is foot and mouth disease?

Foot and mouth disease (FMD) is a viral infection that causes fever and blisters in animals such as:

  • cattle
  • sheep
  • pigs
  • goats
  • some wild animals

The blisters mainly affect the animal's mouth and feet.

FMD in humans

Foot and mouth disease in people is a short-lived and mild illness. People with the virus recover within a few days. The last recorded case of FMD in a human in the UK was in 1966. The person had a mild temperature, sore throat and blisters on their hands.

There have been no recorded cases of FMD spreading between humans.

Food safety

Foot and mouth disease isn't spread through the food chain.

Hand, foot and mouth disease

FMD should not be confused with a different condition called hand, foot and mouth disease, which doesn't affect animals.

Hand, foot and mouth disease does affect people, but it is not related to foot and mouth disease.

Further information

Page last reviewed: 13/11/2015

Next review due: 30/09/2018