San Diego Man Sexually Transmits Smallpox-Vaccine Virus

Smallpox-THA gay San Diego man came down with a smallpox-related virus after having sex with someone who received a vaccination for the once-epidemical illness.

The case, first reported in CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Report, came to light last summer when a 24-year-old man with secondary vaccinia virus transmission came to the hospital complaining of a rash.

Medical Xpress reports:

The patient had lesions on his anus and lips, and developed fever, fatigue, and nausea.

The doctors diagnosed him with the vaccinia virus after realizing he had sex a week earlier with a man who received a smallpox vaccine, [but] who had not kept his vaccination site adequately covered.

The infected man had also had sex with a third man two days before he sought treatment. The third man sought treatment a week later after developing lesions on his forearm, penis, and scrotum, and experiencing malaise, sore throat, and nasal congestion.

Smallpox was officially eradicated globally in 1980, but it’s believed the original carrier was given the smallpox vaccine as part of a Department of Defense program required for all military personnel after heightened concerns about bioterrorism.

The vaccina virus is similar to, but cannot actually cause smallpox.  Those who have been inoculated can experience symptoms—including rash, fever, and aches—and be contagious.  The virus doesn’t have to sexually transmitted: It can spread by skin-to-skin contact or via infected clothing.

“The smallpox vaccine is a live-virus vaccine, and it’s not news that it can infect people, but it cannot convert to smallpox,” Dr. Marc Siegel, a professor of medicine at NYU, told Medical Xpress. “It’s a different virus; it’s a kissing cousin of smallpox. It can be transmitted if you are not careful.”

Both infected men have recovered fully and now have the bonus of being immune to smallpox.