Human Poxvirus Disease After Smallpox Eradication

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  • U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, Public Health Service, Center for Disease Control, Atlanta, Georgia 30333

A 5-year-old boy living in a small camp in the rural Ivory Coast had a disease resembling smallpox. This occurred 4 years after smallpox had been eradicated from the Ivory Coast and 1.5 years after the last case of smallpox was detected in West and Central Africa. Clinical, serological, and epidemiological evidence indicated this disease was probably monkeypox, a poxvirus of the variola/vaccinia subgroup. A serologic survey of poxvirus antibodies in the wild animal population detected neutralizing antibodies in rodents, larger mammals, primates, and birds. The laboratory and ecological characteristics of poxviruses require further elucidation, especially those which have been found in animals near human monkeypox cases.

Author Notes

Medical Epidemiologist, Bureau of Smallpox Eradication, Center for Disease Control, Atlanta, Georgia, attached to the Organisation de Coordination et de Coopération pour la lutte contre les Grandes Endémies, Bobo Dioulasso, Upper Volta. Present address: Field Services Division, Bureau of Epidemiology, Center for Disease Control, assigned to Michigan Department of Public Health, 3500 North Logan Street, Lansing, Michigan 48914.

Chief, Viral Exanthems Branch, Virology Division, Bureau of Laboratories, Center for Disease Control, Atlanta, Georgia 30333.

Directeur de l'Institut d'Hygiène, Abidjan, Ivory Coast.

Operations Officer, Bureau of Smallpox Eradication, Center for Disease Control, Atlanta, Georgia, attached to Smallpox-Measles Program, Ivory Coast.

Chef, Laboratoire d'Ecologie, Office de la Recherche scientifique et technique d'Outre-Mer, Centre d'Adiopodoumé, Abidjan, Ivory Coast.

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