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Laboratory equipment is accidentally injected with smallpox virus

A San Diego lab has contracted a measles virus known as vaccine virus after accidentally stabbing a finger with a needle, according to a new report.

The infection caused the tip of the woman's finger to swell and turn black. Her case is unique because it marks the first time doctors use tecovirimat – a recently approved smallpox medicine – to treat a laboratory-acquired infection with a vaccine virus, the report said.

Vaccinia virus is similar to smallpox virus, also called variola virus. However, vaccination is less harmful and does not cause smallpox. However, the vaccine is the virus used to make smallpox vaccine. Global vaccination efforts including this vaccine led to the eradication of smallpox from the world in 1

980. Although the vaccine is not routinely used these days, doctors give it to people at risk of smallpox or similar viruses, such as scientists working with the virus vaccinia . (In scientific settings, vaccinia the virus can be used as a means of delivering gene or cancer therapies.)

Related: The 9 Deadly Viruses on Earth

In the case described in the report, a 26-year-old lab worker accidentally stabbed herself with a needle during an experiment that required her to inject mice with a vaccine virus, according to a report published today (Oct 25) in the journal [WeeklyMorbidityandMortalityReport published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The worker immediately rinsed his finger with water for 15 minutes, he told her executives. about the incident and went to the emergency room.

Although the laboratory assistant was offered the smallpox vaccine before she started working on the vaccine she refused the vaccination.

It is important to note that smallpox vaccine comes with more side effects than most vaccines commonly received today. This is because unlike most vaccines that use attenuated or killed viruses, smallpox vaccine contains a live vaccine virus, according to the CDC . Within days of receiving the vaccine, it is expected that people will develop a red and itchy lesion at the vaccination site. The lesion then becomes a large blister with pus. While the vaccination site is healing, people should keep the site covered with a bandage that needs to be changed every three days. Eventually, scabies form over the blister and disappear, leaving a small mark, says the CDC. The whole healing process takes about three weeks.

Despite this uncomfortable side effect, the vaccine has a very low risk of serious complications. In contrast, accidental injection with a virus vaccine during lab work can lead to serious wound infections that may require hospitalization, the report said.

About 10 days after the incident, a lab worker developed an edema and a lesion where the needle ached. finger. She later developed a fever and the swelling worsened. Doctors are worried that it may develop "ward syndrome ," a serious condition where there is excessive pressure inside the muscle.

Twelve days after the incident of the lab worker, doctors decide to treat her with a 14-day course of tequirivat, together with a single dose of vaccinated immune globulin, which consists of antibodies obtained from people who have already been vaccinated against the disease. The woman also received antibiotics to prevent bacterial infection of her wound.

Within 48 hours of her treatment, the fever was gone, and the pain and swelling in her finger were reduced, the report said. However, the sections of necrotic (dead) tissue on her finger do not fully heal for more than three months and during this time she cannot go to work.

Asked why she did not receive the smallpox vaccine initially, the lab technician said at the time that she was "not evaluating the degree of infection that may occur" with the vaccine virus, the report said. In addition, she believes it will be a challenge for the vaccine site lesion and is worried about potential side effects.

The report shows that in this particular case, tequirivim was safely used to treat a vaccine virus infection, the authors wrote. However, since this was only a single case, it is unclear whether the drug would be guaranteed for other infections with the virus, they said.

In the United States, the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends that people receive the measles vaccine if they work with the vaccine virus, unless there is a medical reason why they cannot be vaccinated.

Originally published on Live Science .

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