Veterinary Record 145:7-11 doi:10.1136/vr.145.1.7
  • Papers & Articles

Orf (contagious pustular dermatitis) in farmworkers: prevalence and risk factors in three areas of England

  1. L. E. Green, BVSc, MSc,PhD, MRCVS1
  1. 1 Division of Animal Health and Husbandry, Department of Clinical Veterinary Science, University of Bristol, Langford House, Langford, Bristol BS40 5DU
  2. 2 Public Health Laboratory Service, CDSC (Wales), Abton House, Wedal Road, Cardiff CF4 3QX
  3. 3 Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, University of Liverpool, Leahurst, Neston, South Wirral L64 7TE
  4. 4 Public Health Laboratory, County Hospital, Hereford HRI 2ER
  5. 5 Public Health Laboratory, Royal Preston Hospital, PO Box 202, Sharoe Green Lane, Preston PR2 4HG
  6. 6 Public Health Laboratory, Bowthorpe Road, Norwich NR2 3TX


Orf is a zoonotic skin disease which is commonly self-diagnosed by those who tend sheep and goats. This paper reports the prevalence, incidence and risk factors associated with the infection in a cohort of farmworkers from three areas of England, derived from the results of self-reporting and serology. Twentythree per cent of those employed or living on a sheep farm reported ever having had orf, and the antibody serological profiles indicated a prevalence of 4 per cent and an annual incidence of 2-8 per cent. The main risk factors associated with the infection were contact with sheep, the size of the sheep flock, and contact with dogs.


  • Mr Paiba's current address is Department of Epidemiology, Central Veterinary Laboratory, Woodham Lane, New Haw, Addlestone, Surrey KT15 3NB

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