The virus is resistant in the environment surviving many months under dry conditions.
In cats there is no breed predisposition to infection, but predators (eg cats) that catch infected small wild animals (especially gerbils, ground squirrels, voles, wood mice) which act as a reservoir for the disease are at greater risk of contracting the disease.
Typical signs of cowpox virus infection include :
Human Cowpox is rare (1-2 cases are reported per year in the UK). Cats are thought to be a main source of infection but direct contact with infected cattle is also a common source of infection. Signs in humans are most likely to occur in people with poor immunity or pre-existing skin disease and they include :
Most cats and cattle recover without treatment.
Good in cats with skin lesions and no viraemia, but poor if severely affected and pneumonia develops.
Updated January 2016