A survey amongst sheep and goat producers and veterinarians was undertaken to collect
epidemiological data on orf in South Africa. Previous epidemiological studies on the presence
of the disease in the country have not been documented and this report is the first descriptive
epidemiological study of orf in South Africa. A seven-month investigation, realised by direct
and indirect interviews and field observation, enabled us to outline incidence and risk factors
of this disease and to better understand how the local farmers in rural areas relate to it.
The results may contribute to better management of the disease in rural areas. By means of
molecular analyses the phylogenetic relationships between field isolates from different areas
have been identified. The findings gave a first important contribution to the general assessment
of the economic impact of orf virus infections and the extent of the risk to human health.