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Orf Virus in Sheep

  • Authors: Thomas Walton, Erica Suchman
  • Citation: Thomas Walton, Erica Suchman. 2009. Orf virus in sheep.
  • Publication Date : December 2009
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FIG. 1. Goat showing oral vesicles caused by orf virus infection.  

Orf (contagious ecthyma, contagious pustular dermatitis, scabby mouth) is a contagious disease of sheep and goats caused by a virus in the family Poxviridae and genus Parapoxvirus. The virus is one of the largest viruses; the brick-shaped 170 to 260 by 300 to 450-nm-diameter capsid contains a linear nonsegmented double-stranded DNA genome of approximately 140 kilobases that is surrounded by a layer of lipid that is not a true envelope (1, 3). The disease is endemic in most countries worldwide.

Orf is transmitted through breaks in the skin and most commonly causes lesions on the mouth, nose (Fig. 1), and teats. Lambs are most susceptible but often infect the mother

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