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Zoonotic Poxviruses Associated with Companion Animals

Author(s): Danielle M. Tack | Mary G. Reynolds

Journal: Animals
ISSN 2076-2615

Volume: 1;
Issue: 4;
Start page: 377;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Keywords: poxvirus | zoonoses | companion animals | orthopoxvirus | parapoxvirus | monkeypox | cowpox | orf

Understanding the zoonotic risk posed by poxviruses in companion animals is important for protecting both human and animal health. The outbreak of monkeypox in the United States, as well as current reports of cowpox in Europe, point to the fact that companion animals are increasingly serving as sources of poxvirus transmission to people. In addition, the trend among hobbyists to keep livestock (such as goats) in urban and semi-urban areas has contributed to increased parapoxvirus exposures among people not traditionally considered at high risk. Despite the historic notoriety of poxviruses and the diseases they cause, poxvirus infections are often missed. Delays in diagnosing poxvirus-associated infections in companion animals can lead to inadvertent human exposures. Delays in confirming human infections can result in inappropriate treatment or prolonged recovery. Early recognition of poxvirus-associated infections and application of appropriate preventive measures can reduce the spread of virus between companion animals and their owners. This review will discuss the epidemiology and clinical features associated with the zoonotic poxvirus infections most commonly associated with companion animals.
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