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Emerg Infect Dis. 2007 Aug;13(8):1150-7.

Occupational risks during a monkeypox outbreak, Wisconsin, 2003.

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  • 1Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services, Madison, Wisconsin, USA.


We determined factors associated with occupational transmission in Wisconsin during the 2003 outbreak of prairie dog--associated monkeypox virus infections. Our investigation included active contact surveillance, exposure-related interviews, and a veterinary facility cohort study. We identified 19 confirmed, 5 probable, and 3 suspected cases. Rash, headache, sweats, and fever were reported by > 80% of patients. Occupationally transmitted infections occurred in 12 veterinary staff, 2 pet store employees, and 2 animal distributors. The following were associated with illness: working directly with animal care (p = 0.002), being involved in prairie dog examination, caring for an animal within 6 feet of an ill prairie dog (p = 0.03), feeding an ill prairie dog (p = 0.002), and using an antihistamine (p = 0.04). Having never handled an ill prairie dog (p = 0.004) was protective. Veterinary staff used personal protective equipment sporadically. Our findings underscore the importance of standard veterinary infection-control guidelines.

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