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Buffalopox infections

  • Published
    26th May, 2022

The recent spread of monkeypox to non-endemic countries has trained the spotlight on reemerging viruses such as buffalopox, which was first isolated in India.


About Buffalopox:

  • Buffalopox virus (BPXV) is the cause of buffalopox, which was recognized by the FAO/WHO Joint Expert Committee on Zoonosis as an important zoonotic disease.
  • The zoonotic disease is endemic to India and has its root in smallpox vaccines.
  • Live virus used to inoculate buffaloes to produce the smallpox vaccine in India evolved into buffalopox over time.
  • It affects domestic buffaloes (Bubalus bubalis), cattle and humans.
  • Infection occurs in both sporadic and epidemic forms.
  • Lesions in milch animals are localized on teats and udders.

Cases in India:

  • In 2018, some 28 human cases of buffalopox were diagnosed in Maharashtra’s Dhule
    • A majority of the patients were milkers and therefore had close contact with buffalos. 
  • Since the first case in 1934 globally recorded in India, the country has seen several sporadic outbreaks: 
    • From December 1985-February 1987, buffalopox cases were reported from five districts of Maharashtra
    • From 1992-1996, cases were reported from three districts of the state
    • From 2008-2009, seven cases in humans and one in a buffalo in Solapur district as well as 14 human cases in Kolhapur district were recorded.
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