A case of facial cellulitis and necrotizing lymphadenitis due to cowpox virus infection

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We describe a patient with facial cellulitis/erysipelas due to cowpox virus inoculation in the respiratory epithelium of the nose. A cytopathic agent was isolated in cell culture, and the diagnosis of cowpox was confirmed by electron microscopy and polymerase chain reaction. The most likely source of infection was exposure to the family cats. In addition to the severe edematous cellulitis of the face, the clinical course was dominated by several areas of subcutaneous, necrotizing lymphadenitis, from one of which a huge abscess formed that had to be incised. Hyperbaric oxygen treatment was provided to prevent development of dermal necrosis. The healing process in the numerous areas of lymphadenitis was markedly protracted, and 1 persisting node ( which yielded positive results on polymerase chain reaction) had to be excised 2 years after onset of disease. This is the first reported case of inoculation of cowpox virus in the respiratory mucosa of the nose. It resulted in a clinical course totally different than that for inoculation in the skin. We also present a short review of findings on orthopoxvirus infection that focuses on the chain of transmission.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Infectious Medicine
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)737-742
JournalClinical Infectious Diseases
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2006
Publication categoryResearch