The following is an odd article that hit my alerts tonight from a newspaper in Qatar:
"Smallpox kills 50 sheep at private farm
Sunday, 24 March 2013
DOHA: An outbreak of smallpox at a sheep farm in Al Khor has killed more than 50 animals, sparking fears among other animal farm owners, a senior official said.
The veterinary centre at Al Khor received several animals with smallpox from a private farm, Director of Animals Department at the Ministry of Environment, Dr Qasim Al Qahtani, told Al Sharq.
He added that if the spread of the disease was not contained, the death toll may shoot up.
According to Qahtani, a month-and-half ago, several of the 700 sheep at the farm tested positive for smallpox.
On instructions of the veterinary centre, the infected animals have been separated from the health ones. Those suffering from the infection are under treatment and are showing progress.
The sheep which died of smallpox were also suffering from other diseases like pneumonia, Qahtani said.
No other veterinary centre in the country has received any case of smallpox, added Qahtani.
Discounting fears of a spread of the disease, the official said that smallpox breaks out almost every year in Qatar and there was no need to worry as this is the first instance of so many animals dying. The department launched a programme to immunise all animals in the country from eight infectious diseases that are known to break out every year.
The animals are administered the vaccines once or twice every year.
The centres do not spare any effort to protect animals in the country, Qahtani said.
...actually several animal poxes are contagious to humans. Maybe not nearly as symptomatic but never the less contractible. Cowpox, camel pox, monkey pox who's host is believed to be the African squirrel and carried by several other rodent species which by way of the exotic pet trade have now spread to prairie dogs in the SW USA. Any of these subspecies are susceptible to mutating into a potential deadlier form of orthopox virus such as variola.