An emergent poxvirus from humans and cattle in Rio de Janeiro State: Cantagalo virus may derive from Brazilian smallpox vaccine

Virology. 2000 Nov 25;277(2):439-49. doi: 10.1006/viro.2000.0603.


The biological properties of poxvirus isolates from skin lesions on dairy cows and milkers during recent exanthem episodes in Cantagalo County, Rio de Janeiro State, Brazil, were more like vaccinia virus (VV) than cowpox virus. PCR amplification of the hemagglutinin (HA) gene substantiated the isolate classification as an Old World orthopoxvirus, and alignment of the HA sequences with those of other orthopoxviruses indicated that all the isolates represented a single strain of VV, which we have designated Cantagalo virus (CTGV). HA sequences of the Brazilian smallpox vaccine strain (VV-IOC), used over 20 years ago, and CTGV showed 98.2% identity; phylogeny inference of CTGV, VV-IOC, and 12 VV strains placed VV-IOC and CTGV together in a distinct clade. Viral DNA restriction patterns and protein profiles showed a few differences between VV-IOC and CTGV. Together, the data suggested that CTGV may have derived from VV-IOC by persisting in an indigenous animal(s), accumulating polymorphisms, and now emerging in cattle and milkers as CTGV. CTGV may represent the first case of long-term persistence of vaccinia in the New World.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Brazil / epidemiology
  • Cattle
  • Cattle Diseases / epidemiology
  • Cattle Diseases / virology*
  • Chlorocebus aethiops
  • Disease Outbreaks / veterinary*
  • Exanthema / epidemiology
  • Exanthema / virology
  • Female
  • Hemagglutinins, Viral / genetics
  • Humans
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Phylogeny
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Poxviridae / classification*
  • Poxviridae / genetics
  • Poxviridae / isolation & purification
  • Poxviridae Infections / veterinary*
  • Poxviridae Infections / virology
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Smallpox Vaccine*
  • Vaccinia virus / genetics
  • Vaccinia virus / immunology
  • Vero Cells


  • Hemagglutinins, Viral
  • Smallpox Vaccine

Associated data

  • GENBANK/AF229247
  • GENBANK/AF229248