Article Text

Orf (contagious pustular dermatitis) in farmworkers: prevalence and risk factors in three areas of England
  1. G. A. Paiba, MA, VetMB,BSc, MSc, PhD, MRCVS1,1,
  2. D. Rh. Thomas, PhD2,
  3. K. L. Morgan, BA, VetMB,PhD, MRCVS3,
  4. M. Bennett, BVSc, PhD,MRCVS3,
  5. R. L. Salmon, FFPHM2,
  6. R. Chalmers, PhD2,
  7. S. M. Kench, FIBMS4,
  8. T. J. Coleman, FRCPath4,
  9. D. Meadows, RGN5,
  10. P. Morgan-Capner, FRCPath5,
  11. P. Softley6,
  12. M. Sillis, PhD6 and
  13. 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.

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

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