Simple Summary: In the spring of 2006, four human cases of parapoxvirus infections in Missouri residents were reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). We conducted surveys of herders and veterinarians, performed animal and environmental sampling and obtained sera from potential case-patients. We determined that, in general, infected persons may seek advice from veterinarians rather than physicians, thereby giving physicians less clinical experience. The initial perception of increased incidence in Missouri was likely due to reporting bias due to misdiagnosis and increased awareness due to recent publications. Basic personal protective measures are not being routinely utilized. Asymptomatic parapoxvirus infections in livestock may be common and warrants further investigation.
Abstract: In the spring of 2006, four human cases of parapoxvirus infections in Missouri residents were reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), two of which were initially diagnosed as cutaneous anthrax. This investigation was conducted to determine the level of recognition of zoonotic parapoxvirus infections and prevention measures, the degree to which veterinarians may be consulted on human infections and what forces were behind this perceived increase in reported infections. Interviews were conducted and clinical and environmental sampling was performed. Swab and scab specimens were analyzed by real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR), whereas serum specimens were evaluated for parapoxvirus antibodies. Three case patients were found to have fed ill juvenile animals without using gloves. Forty-six percent of veterinarians reported having been consulted regarding suspected human orf infections. Orf virus DNA was detected from five of 25 asymptomatic sheep. Analysis of extracellular envelope gene sequences indicated that sheep and goat isolates clustered in a species-preferential fashion. Parapoxvirus infections are common in Missouri ruminants and their handlers. Infected persons often do not seek medical care; some may seek advice from veterinarians rather than physicians. The initial perception of increased incidence in Missouri may have arisen from a reporting artifact stemming from heightened concern about anthrax. Asymptomatic parapoxvirus infections in livestock may be common and further investigation warranted.
Keywords: parapoxvirus; orf virus; pseudocowpox virus; transmission; diagnostics; occupational exposure
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Lederman, E.R.; Tao, M.; Reynolds, M.G.; Li, Y.; Zhao, H.; Smith, S.K.; Sitler, L.; Haberling, D.L.; Davidson, W.; Hutson, C.; Emerson, G.; Schnurr, D.; Regnery, R.; Zhu, B.-P.; Pue, H.; Damon, I.K. An Investigation of a Cluster of Parapoxvirus Cases in Missouri, Feb–May 2006: Epidemiologic, Clinical and Molecular Aspects. Animals 2013, 3, 142-157.
Lederman ER, Tao M, Reynolds MG, Li Y, Zhao H, Smith SK, Sitler L, Haberling DL, Davidson W, Hutson C, Emerson G, Schnurr D, Regnery R, Zhu B-P, Pue H, Damon IK. An Investigation of a Cluster of Parapoxvirus Cases in Missouri, Feb–May 2006: Epidemiologic, Clinical and Molecular Aspects. Animals. 2013; 3(1):142-157.
Lederman, Edith R.; Tao, Min; Reynolds, Mary G.; Li, Yu; Zhao, Hui; Smith, Scott K.; Sitler, Lisa; Haberling, Dana L.; Davidson, Whitni; Hutson, Christina; Emerson, Ginny; Schnurr, David; Regnery, Russell; Zhu, Bao-Ping; Pue, Howard; Damon, Inger K. 2013. "An Investigation of a Cluster of Parapoxvirus Cases in Missouri, Feb–May 2006: Epidemiologic, Clinical and Molecular Aspects." Animals 3, no. 1: 142-157.