cowpox virus

orthopoxvirus (OPV)


Cowpox is a disease that starts on the cows udders, but when contracted by humans, resembles mild smallpox.


Days 1-6 (after infection): the site of infection appears as an inflamed macule (flat red lesion)

Days 7-12: the inflamed lesion becomes raised (papular), then develops into a blister-like sore (vesicle)

Days 13-20: the vesicle becomes filled with blood and pus and eventually ulcerates. Other lesions may develop close by.

Weeks 3-6: the ulcerated wound turns into a deep-seated, hard, black crusty sore (eschar) which is surrounded by redness and swelling.

Weeks 6-12: the eschar begins to flake and slough and the lesion heals, often leaving a scar behind.

Who is most likely to get cowpox? Cows obviously, but anybody who comes into contacts with cows are at increased risk (cowpox is nearly completely eradicated)

Treatment- stay away from everybody until the lesions are gone, as they are infectious

Prevention- There used to be a cowpox vaccination, but since it was so successful that the disease was eradicated in the 1980's

Origin- originated in Europe in the late 1700's