Vaccinia virus is not inactivated after thermal treatment and cheese production using experimentally contaminated milk

Tércia M.Ludoulfo De Oliveira, Izabelle S. Rehfeld, Jaqueline Maria Ferreira Siqueira, Jônatas S. Abrahão, Rafael K. Campos, Andréia Kelly R. Dos Santos, Mônica Maria O.P. Cerqueira, Erna G. Kroon, Zélia I.P. Lobato

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Bovine vaccinia is an emergent zoonosis caused by the Vaccinia virus (VACV). The disease is characterized by the appearance of exanthematic lesions that occur in humans and dairy cows. Previous studies have revealed the presence of infectious viral particles in milk samples during an outbreak of bovine vaccinia in Brazil, indicating the possibility of disease transmission through raw milk. To assess the viability of the virus in milk after thermal treatment and processing procedures, milk samples were experimentally contaminated with 103 plaque forming units (PFU)/mL (group I) and 105 PFU/mL (group II) VACV Guarani P2 virus, and the third group was not contaminated and served as a control. The samples were submitted to storage temperatures in a cold chamber, freezer for 48 hours, and to low temperature long-time treatment. Moreover, the viral viability was evaluated in cheese produced with contaminated milk using 104 PFU/mL VACV Guarani P2. Notably, the virus remained viable in milk after storage for 48 hours in both the cold chamber and the freezer, with a reduction in viral titer of 14.49% and 25.86%, respectively. Group II showed a viral reduction in titer of 61.88% and 75.98%, respectively. Thermal treatment 65°C for 30 minutes showed a reduction of viral titer of 94.83% and 99.99%, respectively, in group I and group II, but still showed remaining viable virus particles. In addition, it was possible to recover infectious viral particles from both the solid curds and the whey of the cheese produced with experimentally contaminated milk. The cheese shows a reduction in viral titer of 84.87% after storage at 4°C for 24 hours. The presence of viable viral particles in milk after both thermal treatment and cheese production indicates a potential public health risk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1491-1496
Number of pages6
JournalFoodborne Pathogens and Disease
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2010
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Microbiology


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