Vaccinia virus particles, SEM. © Science Photo Library

Cowpox is a skin disease caused by a virus belonging to the Orthopoxvirus genus. Sporadic human cases of cowpox have been reported in Europe, mostly linked to handling of infected animal, usually rodents and cats. Human infection results from direct contact with an infected animal. The disease in humans presents as localised lesions mainly on fingers, hands or the face, in the form of red blisters. The disease is self-limiting in immunocompetent persons. No specific treatment is available. There is no known evidence of human to human transmission of the virus.