This patient information and photograph on Orf is provided by John L. Meisenheimer, M.D. a board certified Dermatologist and skin care specialist based in Orlando, Florida. This information is not intended as a substitute for the medical advice or treatment of a dermatologist or other physician.
What is it? Orf is typically a solitary growth on the skin, most commonly on the fingers or
hand. It size ranges from 1/2 inch to an inch in diameter. Orf's appearance changes as it evolves. Starting as a red growth it changes into a target shaped growth followed by a crusting phase. It can occur at any age. It is common in farmers or others that handle sheep but otherwise its appearance is rare. In the first few days a fever may occur and lymph nodes commonly get swollen.
What Causes it? Orf is a viral infection spread from sheep to humans.
Is it Dangerous? Orf is harmless
Can it be Cured? Orf spontaneously regresses over about a one month period. Removal may speed healing time.
Will it Spread? Orf does not spread but occasionally more than one will appear.
Is it Contagious? Orf is fairly contagious from sheep to humans. It may be possible for human to human spread to occur but this is rare.