Orthopoxvirus seroprevalence in cats and veterinary personnel in North-Eastern Italy in 2011.
Orthopoxviruses (OPV) are emerging zoonotic pathogens, and an increasing number of human infections is currently reported in Europe and in other continents, warranting heightened attention on this topic. Following two OPV infections reported in veterinarians scratched by sick cats in 2005 and 2007 in North-Eastern-Italy, involving a previously undescribed OPV, a similar strain was isolated by a sick cat from the same territory in 2011, i.e., 6 years later, raising attention on OPV circulation in this region. A surveillance program was launched to assess the OPV seroprevalence among the veterinarians working in local veterinary clinics and in the local wild and domestic cat population; seroprevalence was 33.3% in veterinarians and 19.5% in cats. Seroprevalence in cats was unevenly distributed, peaking at 40% in the area where OPV-infected cats had been observed.