Ecthyma contagiosum (orf) - Report of a human case from the United Arab Emirates and review of the literature

Suhail Al-Salam, Norbert Nowotny, Mohammed Rizwan Sohail, Jolanta Kolodziejek, Thomas G. Berger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Ecthyma contagiosum (orf) is caused by an epitheliotropic parapox virus. It is a zoonosis usually transmitted to humans from affected sheep or goat through direct contact or contaminated fomites. Methods: We report a 36-year-old patient with multiple skin lesions on his left hand, first observed 5 days before admission followed by red streaks on the forearm and an erythema on the upper arm 1 day prior to admission. The patient reported that he was working on a sheep farm. Results: Histopathologic examination showed evidence of a viral infection. Subsequent transmission electron microscopy showed typical parapox virus particles, predominantly in the scaled-off layers of degenerated keratinocytes and monocytes. The results were verified and specified by two newly established polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays and subsequent sequencing of the amplicons: one broadly reacting 'general parapox virus PCR', and one assay which allows - following sequencing - discrimination between individual orf virus strains. Conclusion: Despite the multiplicity of the lesions, there was a significant improvement after 2 weeks of treatment. Sequencing showed the uniqueness of this virus compared with previously published strains from other countries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)603-607
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Cutaneous Pathology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Histology
  • Dermatology


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