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Also known as: Sheep Pox — Goat Pox


This disease is exotic to the UK and the EU and has never been seen here. It is however, prevalent in Asia, the Middle East, Africa and some Mediterranean countries. The disease is notifiable and is also zoonotic, making it a serious risk to public health. Humans tend to catch the disease by direct contact with the lesions, and therefore generally farm workers are most affected.

The disease affects sheep and goats and is often fatal causing dermal and visceral necrotic lesions. It is highly contagious, with both aerosol and vector spread being common mechanisms. Arthropod vectors are the most common vector to spread the disease. The pox virus can survive for around 6 months off the host.

Clinical Signs

Dermal signs include typical 'pock' lesions on the skin surface. If visceral disease is present then signs may include coughing, dyspnoea and increased respiratory rate.


Clinical signs are indicative of disease, especially in countries where the disease is endemic. Samples of the pock lesion can be taken for diagnosis by PCR.

Treatment and Control

In countries where the disease is endemic, vaccination is recommended and available.


Blood, D.C. and Studdert, V. P. (1999) Saunders Comprehensive Veterinary Dictionary (2nd Edition) Elsevier Science

Bridger, J and Russell, P (2007) Virology Study Guide, Royal Veterinary College

Merck & Co (2008) The Merck Veterinary Manual (Eighth Edition) Merial

Radostits, O.M, Arundel, J.H, and Gay, C.C. (2000) Veterinary Medicine: a textbook of the diseases of cattle, sheep, pigs, goats and horses Elsevier Health Sciences

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