Introduction. Vaccinia virus is the vaccine that was used to eradicate smallpox. This task was accomplished in 1977 and its completion certified in 1979 by the World Health Organization (WHO) (Fenner , 1988). Since then poxvirus infections of humans have caused little disease and have been restricted to molluscum contagiosum and rare zoonoses such as cowpox (CPV), pseudocowpox, monkeypox, orf and yaba tumour viruses. Continued interest in vaccinia virus and other poxviruses has derived in part from the development of these viruses as cloning and expression vectors (Mackett , 1982; Panicali & Paoletti, 1982) that have the potential as live vaccines to combat diseases other than smallpox (Panicali , 1983; Smith , 1983 , 1984; Paoletti , 1984).


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