Severe eczema vaccinatum in a household contact of a smallpox vaccinee

Surabhi Vora, Inger Damon, Vincent Fulginiti, Stephen G. Weber, Madelyn Kahana, Sarah L. Stein, Susan I. Gerber, Sylvia Garcia-Houchins, Edith Lederman, Dennis Hruby, Limone Collins, Dorothy Scott, Kenneth Thompson, John V. Barson, Russell Regnery, Christine Hughes, Robert S. Daum, Yu Li, Hui Zhao, Scott SmithZach Braden, Kevin Karem, Victoria Olson, Whitni Davidson, Giliane Trindade, Tove Bolken, Robert Jordan, Debbie Tien, John Marcinak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

186 Scopus citations


Background. We report the first confirmed case of eczema vaccinatum in the United States related to smallpox vaccination since routine vaccination was discontinued in 1972. A 28-month-old child with refractory atopic dermatitis developed eczema vaccinatum after exposure to his father, a member of the US military who had recently received smallpox vaccine. The father had a history of inactive eczema but reportedly reacted normally to the vaccine. The child's mother also developed contact vaccinia infection. Methods. Treatment of the child included vaccinia immune globulin administered intravenously, used for the first time in a pediatric patient; cidofovir, never previously used for human vaccinia infection; and ST-246, an investigational agent being studied for the treatment of orthopoxvirus infection. Serological response to vaccinia virus and viral DNA levels, correlated with clinical events, were utilized to monitor the course of disease and to guide therapy. Burn patient-type management was required, including skin grafts. Results. The child was discharged from the hospital after 48 days and has recovered with no apparent systemic sequelae or significant scarring. Conclusion. This case illustrates the need for careful screening prior to administration of smallpox vaccine and awareness by clinicians of the ongoing vaccination program and the potential risk for severe adverse events related to vaccinia virus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1555-1561
Number of pages7
JournalClinical Infectious Diseases
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 15 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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