A 70yo woman presents to ED with the following lesions which have been present for 2 weeks now and have steadily progressed from small raised areas into the large, painful areas seen below with moderate amounts of necrosis.
The patient had presented to ED a week earlier and was given a presumptive diagnosis despite the lack of obvious exposure. some antibiotics given for probable secondary infection at that time.
She has no history of major diseases of any kind other than well controlled hypertension (on metoprolol)
She is a keen gardener who has a pet dog. She has not visited any farms or abattoirs in the recent past.
Further advice was sought from dermatology (email photos sent) which received the following reply:
Thanks for these excellent photos of Orf, probably acquired via contact with a sheep, goat or other animal. Symptomatic management with a topical antiseptic such as Betadine dressings and analgesics is correct.”
Orf is a parapox virus which is passed amongst sheep, goats and a number of other animals (including red squirrels apparently)
It causes lesions like those shown but often much less impressive with papules which often burst releasing purulent (and infective) material.
Most people effected by orf are shearers, farmers and of concern to myself is children with pet lambs.
Orf is something that presents reasonably frequently to GP land here in rural(ish) NZ. Many of the people most at risk for orf often treat themselves. Stories of shearers curetting their own lesions abound.
Follow up (2 weeks later)
As you can see most of the lesions have improved significantly with almost complete resolution of some of the later lesions which never ruptured.
Final follow-up 8-10 weeks post initial presentation:
I’ve since seen the patient at the supermarket and can confirm complete resolution without any scarring of all of the lesions. She now gardens with gloves on and thinks the only possible exposure was something her dog must have rolled in.
One of the best going cases of Orf I have seen. It can be much more aggressive in those with immunocompromised but as mentioned earlier the patient is very fit and well with no major health issues.
So there you have it one Orful case… *drops mic*
PS. Sorry I Haven’t posted in ages. Will do better in future.