There is growing optimism that the foot and mouth epidemic may be largely confined to the UK after no new cases of the contagious virus has been reported in France since last week. But vigilance still remains high against the disease in continental Europe despite the discovery of one confirmed case on a farm in Mayenne, France. Scares in France, Germany, Italy, Belgium and the Netherlands - where animals have shown foot-and-mouth symptoms - have come and gone, boosting hopes that measures in the continent can be relaxed.