Top: Cow-milker infected from the teats of a cow with natural cow-pox. Large depressed vesicle with a small central crust, tumid (swollen) margin, surrounded by well-marked areola and considerable surrounding induration (hardness associated with swelling)

Bottom: Same case, one week later. Reddish brown crust typical of recovering cow-pox cases, on a reddened elevated and indurated base.

Many mammalian species have members of the Orthopoxviridae that are specialized to exist within their systems - humans have smallpox, cows have cowpox, monkeys have monkeypox, and so on (note: chicken pox is NOT a member of this group - its name comes from an old English word meaning “Itchy”, and is completely unrelated).

However, sometimes, the similar viruses can cross species barriers, as in the case of cowpox. Though the viruses are specialized to their host species enough that they don’t easily spread between atypical hosts, they’re related enough that once an individual is infected with one pox virus, their immune system is able to to recognize and fend off the whole lot of them. This is why, with the assistance of cowpox (Vaccinia) cultures in administered vaccines (rather than all of humanity having to be in direct contact with cows…), smallpox was able to be eradicated in the wild.

A Text-Book of Bacteriology, including the Etiology and Prevention of Infectious Diseases. Edgar M. Crookshank, 1897.

Fluorescent micrograph of infected cells (green); the actin cytoskeleton and nuclei of the epithelial cell monolayer are shown in red and blue, respectively. The vaccinia virus disrupted the integrity of this monolayer. Without their cell-to-cell contacts, the infected cells migrate and move around.

By Yoshiki Arakawa and Michael Way, London Research Institute

Here’s something you don’t see around anymore—smallpox is the only human infectious disease that has ever been eradicated, with the last known natural case occurring in Somalia in 1977. The virus itself still exists in two labs, one in Russia and one in the US, so there’s still stockpiles of vaccine kept around, including enough for everyone in the US due to fears of it being a potential bioterrorism agent.

The vaccine is a really interesting one in that it actually does not contain smallpox virus itself. Instead, it’s made with a much weaker but closely related virus called vaccinia. The virus is administered with a small, two-pronged (bifurcated) needle, with the vaccinator making fifteen small pokes that cause a blister to develop. After two weeks, the blister becomes a scab, and in the third week the scab falls off, leaving behind a scar.

As you can imagine, this method of vaccinating wasn’t the easiest, so vaccinators in underdeveloped countries made extensive use of jet injectors, which were needleless and fired the vaccine into the skin through pressure. These unfortunately fell out of favor due to concern that they might become contaminated with patients’ blood—just think of what use an improved version might have among the needle-phobic population!

A New Report Examines First Reported Spread of Vaccinia Virus Through Shaving After Contact Transmission
See on - National Population Health Grid

A 30-year-old unvaccinated male security forces student is the first reported case of spreading the smallpox vaccine virus (vaccinia) across his face by shaving after he had inadvertently acquired the virus during combative training at the largest U.S. Air Force training installation, according to a recently released health surveillance report.

Brian Altonen's insight:

Say ‘Hi!’ to the new small pox strain!!!   

I’ll give you the first three paragraphs to review:   

[Begin Quote]

Newswise — SILVER SPRING, MD, August 27, 2014 – A 30-year-old unvaccinated male security forces student is the first reported case of spreading the smallpox vaccine virus (vaccinia) across his face by shaving after he had inadvertently acquired the virus during combative training at the largest U.S. Air Force training installation, according to a recently released health surveillance report.

On June 9, the patient sought medical care at the trainee clinic at the Joint Base San Antonio–Lackland, Texas, and complained of “bumps on his face” after noticing a single small lesion on the underside of his chin three days earlier, according to the report published in the August issue of Medical Surveillance Monthly Report (MSMR) from the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center (AFHSC) released on August 27. He described the site of the initial lesion as itchy and burning until it “popped” later that day. Within two days, he noticed more lesions on the chin, lower jaw and throat. He had shaved his face and neck on the day of and the day following the rupture of the initial lesion.

Over the past decade, most cases of contact vaccinia (i.e., spread of the virus from a vaccinated person to an unvaccinated person) have been traced to U.S. service members, who comprise the largest segment of the population vaccinated against smallpox. Most involve women or children who live in the same household and/or share a bed with a vaccinee or with a vaccinee’s contact. Of adult female cases, most are described as spouses or intimate partners of vaccinees or secondary contacts. Of adult male cases, most involve some type of recreational activity with physical contact, such as wrestling, grappling, sparring, football, or basketball. Household interactions (e.g., sharing towels or clothing) and “unspecified contact” are also implicated.

[End Quote]

For more … 

Want to see how small pox is noted in the medical records for 80M plus people, see my video, … 

Immunizations of Diseases.  A video on immunizable disease cases found in EMRs. 

My Wordpress page “The Childhood Immunization Problem”, going on many years of views now, at 

My full collection of videos on IMMUNIZATION REFUSAL nationwide are at:

The recent outbreaks are due to a failing preventive care system, and too much reliance upon the “herd effect” hypothesis.  

HERDING is no long an effective means for preventing immunizable disease spread.  The recent outbreak of Measles in NY is clear evidence for our need to eliminate this paradigm from our professional word games.

See on

Vaccinia virus infections guide new vaccine designs

If we mapped out the family tree of poxviruses, then vaccinia virus (the causative agent of cowpox) and variola virus (the causative agent of smallpox) would probably be sisters. Or at the very least, cousins. This close heritage allows the relatively benign vaccinia virus to confer variola virus-protective immune responses in vaccinated individuals.

Read more at:

Image credit: Weltzin et al 2003, Nat Med 9 (9):1125-30

As we have learned more about the world of microbes, we have realised that it’s possible to use bacteria and viruses as treatments against disease. But although microbes often work incredibly well at protecting against infections or attacking tumours, we still don’t really know exactly how they work.

We know that our immune systems have developed ways to keep up with the devious tricks and schemes of microbes. When our cells become infected, the immune system activates a huge cascade of pathways, one of which leads to the activation of T cells against infected targets.

For T cells, forming a tight bond with these infected target cells is thought to be incredibly important in achieving a high-grade T cell killing performance.

Now, a team of scientists from the Chinese CDC has found that the tightness of the bond between a T cell and a target cell infected with vaccinia virus (administered as a therapeutic vaccine) relies heavily on the expression of the signalling molecule, MyD88. Surprisingly, it doesn’t rely much on the affinity of the T cell receptor, or the inflammatory conditions generated by the infection.

This exciting research suggests that vaccines capable of engaging the MyD88 pathway might perform better by tuning T cells to bind more tightly and kill more effectively their intended target cells.

You can find out more about this research here:

Image credit: Abcam. MyD88 staining appears in green, nuclear staining in blue and plasma membrane staining in red.