Contagious Ecthyma

By Barry Whitworth, DVM

Contagious Ecthyma (CE) is a highly contagious viral disease found throughout the world wherever sheep are kept. The virus primarily affects young lambs and kids within a few weeks after birth. It also is seen among weaned lambs and kids that are comingled such as in feedlot situations. Older adults not previously exposed or with compromised immune system may be affected as well as some other domestic and wild animals. Although no studies have been done, the disease most likely causes significant economic losses. Economic losses are attributed to weight loss and death loss. The disease is zoonotic, which means the virus can infect humans. The human disease is referred to as ORF. Some other common names for the disease are sore mouth, ORF, scabby mouth and contagious pustular dermatitis.

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