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May 2009

Orf Acquired During Religious Observance

Arch Dermatol. 2009;145(5):606-608. doi:10.1001/archdermatol.2009.69

Orf, also known as ecthyma contagiosum, is a cutaneous infection caused by a poxvirus (subgroup paravaccinia) typically transmitted to humans by contact with infected sheep and goats. Orf infection most commonly occurs in professional meat handlers and sheep herders, and so it is generally considered a result of occupational exposure.1 However, several reports from Belgium and Turkey describe orf transmission from animals handled during the Muslim observance of Eid-al-Adha (Feast of the Sacrifice).1-4 We describe herein a patient with, to our knowledge, the first case of orf acquired during a religious practice in the Western hemisphere.