(Orf, Sore Mouth, Pustular Dermatitis)
Contagious ecthyma is
a viral skin disease which is transmitted from sheep to
humans. In the adult sheep the signs of the disease
are sores and scabbing around the muzzle. Sometimes
the sores are in the animal's mouth and may prevent feeding.
If a ewe has nursing lamb's, the lesions may also occur on
contract the disease through direct contact with sheep
(especially touching the sores.) Unlike sheep, in the human
a single lesion usually develops on the hands or arms. The
lesion usually occurs within four days of the contact and
lasts for three to four weeks. It can be quite painful. No
treatment is required unless a bacterial infection
complicates the disease.
method to prevent infection is to avoid contact with
diseased sheep, or to wear protective clothing if this is
necessary. As with other diseases some people are quite
resistant to this disease while others are very sensitive.