(c) 2016 Jon L Gelman, All Rights Reserved.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Lab Worker Infected by Vaccinia Virus Infection Despite Recent Immunized

The US CDC reported:

Occupational exposures to orthopoxviruses in laboratories can result in infections. The most effective means of prevention are preexposure smallpox vaccination, training, and laboratory safety measures such as proper handling and disposal of needles. In addition, incident reporting and timeliness of seeking medical treatment for inadvertent exposures are critical components of laboratory response plans.

In November 2013, a worker in an academic laboratory inadvertently stuck his thumb with a needle being used to inoculate a mouse with wild type vaccinia virus. Despite having been vaccinated with smallpox vaccine less than one year earlier, he developed a rash on his arm and necrotic lesion on his thumb that resolved following treatment. This is the first report of a laboratory worker in the United States vaccinated against vaccinia virus according to Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices guidelines who exhibited infection after an unintentional inoculation. Recommendations to enhance worker safety were made and implemented.

Vaccination alone is insufficient as the sole preventive measure against laboratory-acquired orthopoxvirus infections. It must be complemented with effective biosafety protocols such as education of laboratory personnel, safe laboratory practice, and incident reporting.