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Needlestick injury with smallpox vaccine

Sanjaya N Senanayake
Med J Aust 2009; 191 (11): 657.
Published online: 7 December 2009

Vaccinia vaccine is used to immunise against smallpox, which is caused by the orthopoxvirus, variola. A 26-year-old laboratory worker was inoculating mice with vaccinia vaccine as part of research into cross-reactivity among poxviruses. This particular vaccine contained a live attenuated strain of vaccinia (Western Reserve). The laboratory worker had himself received vaccinia vaccine in 2004 because of the nature of his work. On this occasion, after inoculating two mice, he suffered a needlestick injury to the left index finger.

  • Sanjaya N Senanayake

  • Canberra Hospital, Canberra, ACT.


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