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It is possible that the main title of the report Cowpox is not the name you expected. Please check the synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and disorder subdivision(s) covered by this report.


  • Bovine Smallpox
  • Vaccinia
  • Vaccinia Necrosum Progressive Vaccinia
  • Catpox
  • Human Cowpox Infection

Disorder Subdivisions

  • None

General Discussion

Cowpox is a viral disease that normally affects the udders and teats of cows. On rare occasions, it may be transmitted to humans and produce a characteristic red skin rash and abnormally enlarged lymph nodes (lymphadenopathy). Cowpox is caused by the vaccinia virus and has been known to cause systemic reactions (generalized vaccinia) in some people who have been recently vaccinated against cowpox.

Cowpox produces immunity to smallpox and, beginning in the 19th century, the virus for cowpox was used to develop the vaccines used against smallpox. Because of the widespread vaccination, smallpox was wiped out worldwide but has now come under study again because of concern that it might be used as an agent of biological terrorism.


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For a Complete Report

This is an abstract of a report from the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD). A copy of the complete report can be downloaded free from the NORD website for registered users. The complete report contains additional information including symptoms, causes, affected population, related disorders, standard and investigational therapies (if available), and references from medical literature. For a full-text version of this topic, go to and click on Rare Disease Database under "Rare Disease Information".

The information provided in this report is not intended for diagnostic purposes. It is provided for informational purposes only. NORD recommends that affected individuals seek the advice or counsel of their own personal physicians.

It is possible that the title of this topic is not the name you selected. Please check the Synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and Disorder Subdivision(s) covered by this report

This disease entry is based upon medical information available through the date at the end of the topic. Since NORD's resources are limited, it is not possible to keep every entry in the Rare Disease Database completely current and accurate. Please check with the agencies listed in the Resources section for the most current information about this disorder.

For additional information and assistance about rare disorders, please contact the National Organization for Rare Disorders at P.O. Box 1968, Danbury, CT 06813-1968; phone (203) 744-0100; web site or email

Last Updated:  5/13/2009
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