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Published On: Sat, Jun 14th, 2014

Brazil reports cowpox case in Mato Grosso farmer

A farmer from São José dos Quatro Marcos,  Mato Grosso, Brazil is the first case of cowpox in a person confirmed this year, according to Office of Agricultural Defense of Mato Grosso in a Globo.com report this week (computer translated).

Cowpox eruption Image/CDC

Cowpox eruption on forearm Image/CDC

Three of animals on the farm are also infected with the virus. An Animal Disease Control representative for the state noted that the property was closed and milk production was suspended. In addition, some 70 neighboring properties were inspected and no other cowpox cases were discovered.

According to the Global Infectious Disease and Epidemiology Network (GIDEON), cowpox is endemic in Brazil with few human cases reported each year.

According to the Merck Veterinary Manual, cowpox is a mild, eruptive disease of dairy cows, lesions are seen on the udder and teats. Although once common, cowpox is now extremely rare and reported primarily in western Europe. The virus of cowpox is closely related antigenically to vaccinia and smallpox viruses. For more infectious disease news and information, visit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page

The disease spreads by contact during milking. After an incubation period of 3–7 days, during which cows may be mildly febrile, papules appear on the teats and udder. Vesicles may not be evident or may rupture readily, leaving raw, ulcerated areas that form scabs. Lesions heal within 1 mo. Most cows in a milking herd may become affected. Milkers may develop fever and have lesions on the hands, arms, or face. Occasionally, cowpox in people can cause generalized disease, and fatalities have been recorded.

Related: Brazil reports seven imported chikungunya cases in past week

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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He regularly writes about infectious disease news for Examiner.com and administers the Outbreak News section of The Global Dispatch.

Displaying 6 Comments
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  1. Dear Colleagues,

    In agreement with Dr. Borges, Cowpox virus is not endemic in Brazil. The GIDEON is not the best reference for Poxvirus infections. Please search Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Atlanta. They are the best reference in this case.

    Felipe Lopes de Assis
    Msc in Microbiology
    PhD student in Virology field – Currently working with Poxvirus research in Brazil.

  2. iara borges says:

    Cowpox is not endemic in Brazil, Bovine Vaccinia is. To call this outbreak a Cowpox occurence one should do molecular tests and demonstrate it is about Cowpox virus and not Vaccinia virus. The image shown from CDC induces us to think these are the lesions found on infected humana from this specific case, which are not. I advise you to correct this text with the help of a Poxvirus expert in order to stop the dissemination of wrong information. CDC has great references such as Dr. Mary Reynolds and Dr. Andrea McCollum from Pox and Rabies branch.

    Iara Borges
    Veterinarian
    PhD in Microbiology.
    Brazil

    • Robert Herriman says:

      Dr. Borges,
      According to GIDEON, cowpox is endemic in Brazil.The ECDC also noted this reference. In addition, nowhere did I call this incident an outbreak.
      Thanks for your comment,
      Robert

      • Sr Herriman,

        Maybe the correction of these information is not of your interest. But We, virologists, have a commitment with the science! You just can’t say that the Mato Grosso’s episode is resulting of Cowpox virus infection. No genetic study has been performed in this case, and just this can indicate the causative viral agent. The current poxvirus circulating in Brazil is Vaccinia virus, the causative agent of bovine vaccinia disease, which is correctly described in your text. The Vaccinia virus has been isolated and featured by biological and molecular methods for 20 years in Brazil. During these 20 years, no Cowpox virus has been detected in Brazil. So, be careful in relaying such information.

        Felipe Assis

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