Secondary and Tertiary Transmission of Vaccinia Virus After Sexual Contact with a Smallpox Vaccinee - San Diego, California, 2012
MMWR. Morbidity and mortality weekly report 03/2013; 62(8):145-147.
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ABSTRACT: Severe adverse events, including eczema vaccinatum (EV), can result after smallpox vaccination. Persons at risk for EV include those with underlying dermatologic conditions, such as atopic dermatitis. We investigated a case of vaccinia infection, possibly acquired during sexual contact with a recently vaccinated military service member, in a female Maryland resident with atopic dermatitis. The U.S. Department of Defense's Vaccine Healthcare Centers Network (VHCN) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) worked in conjunction with the patient's physician and the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) to confirm the diagnosis, ensure treatment, and prevent further transmission. Specimens collected from the patient were tested at the DHMH laboratories and were positive by real-time polymerase chain reaction for nonvariola orthopoxvirus. Testing at the CDC verified the presence of vaccinia-specific DNA signatures. Continuing spread of the patient's lesions led to the administration of vaccinia immune globulin and strict infection control measures to prevent tertiary transmission to vulnerable family members, also with atopic dermatitis. VHCN contacted the service member to reinforce vaccination site care and hygiene. This case underscores the importance of prevaccination education for those receiving the smallpox vaccine to protect contacts at risk for developing severe adverse reactions.
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ABSTRACT: The U.S. Department of Defense vaccinates personnel deployed to high-risk areas with the vaccinia virus (VACV)-based smallpox vaccine. Autoinoculations and secondary and tertiary transmissions due to VACV shedding from the vaccination site continue to occur despite education of vaccinees on the risks of such infections. The objectives of this study were to investigate, in naïve smallpox vaccinees, (a) whether the vaccination site can remain contagious after the scab separates and (b) whether the application of povidone iodine ointment (PIO) to the vaccination site inactivates VACV without affecting the immune response. These objectives were tested in 60 individuals scheduled to receive smallpox vaccine. Thirty individuals (control) did not receive PIO; 30 subjects (treatment) received PIO starting on post-vaccination day 7. Counter to current dogma, this study showed that VACV continues to shed from the vaccination site after the scab separates. Overall viral shedding levels in the PIO group were significantly lower than those in the control group (p=0.0045), and PIO significantly reduced the duration of viral shedding (median duration 14.5 days and 21 days in the PIO and control groups, respectively; p= 0.0444). At least 10% of control subjects continued to shed VACV at day 28, and 3.4% continued to shed the virus at day 42. PIO reduced the proportion of subjects shedding virus from the vaccination site from day 8 until days 21-23 compared with control subjects. Groups did not differ significantly in the proportion of subjects mounting an immune response, as measured by neutralizing antibodies, IgM, IgG, and interferon-gamma enzyme-linked immunospot assay. When applied to the vaccination site starting on day 7, PIO reduced viral shedding without altering the immune response. The use of PIO in addition to a semipermeable dressing may reduce the rates of autoinoculation and contact transmission originating from the vaccination site in smallpox-vaccinated individuals.
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