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Contagious Ecthyma (CE)
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Contagious ecthyma (CE), also known as soremouth or orf, is an acute infectious disease of sheep and goats. Contagious ecthyma is caused by a virus that is a member of the poxvirus group. The disease is widespread in the sheep population and affects all breeds. Young animals are generally more susceptible than adults.

This disease is characterized by the formation of vesicles, pustules, and thick scabs on the lips, nostrils, face, eyelids, teats, udder, feet, and occasionally, inside the mouth. These usually appear about 3-14 days after exposure to the virus, and the scabs last 1-6 weeks. CE causes reduced gain and feed efficiency in feeder lambs. It is most serious when nursing animals contract the disease. Affected lambs/kids refuse to nurse and may die from starvation. The infection may be transmitted to the teats and udder of the mother, causing pain and abandonment of the lamb or kid. Mastitis may also result. The disease usually clears up on its own unless the animal is severely affected. This virus can survive for very long periods in scabs from infected animals that drop into the bedding and environment. This may serve as a source of infection for other animals many months later. The disease is commonly introduced into a flock/herd by replacement or breeding animals and by contact with bedding material, trucks, and vehicles contaminated by the CE virus.

CE is transmissible to humans, causing painful sores that may last for several weeks. Thoroughly wash exposed skin areas, and then apply a skin antiseptic. Keep small children away from infected animals. The vaccine can also cause the disease in humans, so it is important to use caution when handling it. People handling infected animals or the vaccine should wear rubber or plastic gloves to prevent the virus from entering through small cuts or abrasions.

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Orf lesions on the teats predispose to mastitis