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February 19, 2003

Risk of Cutaneous Vaccinia From Health Care Workers Who Receive Smallpox Vaccine

Author Affiliations

Letters Section Editor: Stephen J. Lurie, MD, PhD, Senior Editor.

JAMA. 2003;289(7):844-845. doi:10.1001/jama.289.7.844

In Reply: I share Dr Mermel's concerns about the risk of cutaneous vaccinia from immunized health care workers. Although vaccinia was rare in hospitals and other health care settings during the 1960s, it certainly can occur and may have been more frequent at the time of open wards and before there was great attention to prevention of nosocomial spread.1 Nonetheless, the rarity of such reports in the 1960s seems to indicate that the nosocomial preventive measures used then were quite effective.

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