Pay Attention To Orf In Your Flocks
Stockfarm|July 2021
Some of our readers may have treated or heard of sheep or goats that have been infected with orf (vuilbek).
Carin Venter

The orf virus is a member of the parapoxvirus genus in the poxvirus family and infects the skin and mucosa of animals.

Orf is commonly seen in sheep, goats, and especially young animals. It can lead to a serious bacterial infection if not managed properly. It can also be transmitted to people who have handled infected animals and form red or blue lesions on the fingers, hands, forearms, and face. In humans it can be treated with antibiotics, but what to do if your animals are infected?

Dr. Freddie Strauss, a veterinarian at the Hertzogbrug Animal Clinic in Aliwal North, sheds some light on the subject.

Epidemiology

The virus has no specific preferences and affects all small stocks, including ewes and rams. “Transmission occurs through direct contact or scabs that fall off due to new skin forming underneath it. The virus can be transmitted when other sheep or goats come into contact with these scabs,” says Dr Strauss.

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