Smallpox shot leads to four vaccinia virus infections

After direct or indirect contact with a United States military man who had received a smallpox shot, four people contracted vaccinia virus infections, leading to systemic symptoms in one of the cases.

The member of the military received a vaccination against the potential pathogen on February 23, 2010, and later engaged two men in a semiprofessional wrestling match at which time his vaccination-site dressing become dislodged. Within three days, both of the wrestlers suffered skin lesions, CIRDAP News reports.

On March 5, one of the infected wrestlers wrestled another man who later had skin lesions on his chest. One of the four men needed treatment for erythema and early blepharitis of the left eyelid. A 29-year-old female household contact of the first case-patient had symptoms including chills, arthralgia, submandibular swelling, lesions along her lower jaw, fever and a lesion in her right nostril.

The woman was later treated with vaccinia immune globulin, which alleviated the pain of her lesions within one day, CIRDAP News reports.

The vaccinia virus was confirmed in all four patients, with the gene sequence in three of the cases connected to the ACAM2000 smallpox virus. A report in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Emerging Infectious Disease journal said that there is a need to make sure that military vaccinees understand the risks connected to contact transmission of vaccinia.