Lapis ISSN 2398-2969

Pox viruses: overview

Contributor(s): Narelle Walter, Anna Meredith

Poxviridae

  • A family of double stranded DNA virions.
  • Consists of two subfamilies, with the subfamily Chordopoxvirinae (poxviruses of vertebrates), containing the poxviruses relevant to rabbits.
  • Subfamily Chordopoxvirinae contains eight genera, two of these contain viruses that cause significant disease in rabbits. These are Orthopoxvirus and Leporipoxvirus.
  • Includes many viruses that infect both vertebrate and insect species.
  • The largest and most complex of animal viruses.
  • Some viruses in this family may be seen with a light microscope.
  • Poxviruses can survive for many years in dust and dry conditions.

Virus characteristics

  • Large brick shaped virions, containing a nucleocapsid core surrounded by a protein membrane.
  • Double-stranded DNA genome in a central dumbell-shaped core.
  • 1 or 2 lateral bodies lie beside the genome.
  • External envelope contains lipiod and globular protein strands.
  • Replicate in the cytoplasm of cells.
  • Some poxviruses have been found to express proteins that inhibit the host's immune response.

Infections

  • Poxvirus infections produce focal lesions in the epidermis that become proliferative and eventually necrotic.
  • Rarely, generalized infections can occur.
  • Secondary bacterial infections are often seen.
  • Long-term immunity follows recovery from a pox virus infection.

Orthopoxvirus

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Leporipoxvirus

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Kerr P J & Best S M (1998) Myxoma virus in rabbits. Rev Sci Tech 17 (1), 256-268 PubMed.

Other sources of information

  • Van Pragg E (2010) Skin Disease of Rabbits. Website:www.medirabbit.com.
  • Percy D H et al (2007) Pathology of Laboratory Rodents and Rabbits. 3rd edn. Blackwell Publishing.
  • Carger G R & Wise D J (2005) Poxviridae. In: A Concise Review of Veterinary Virology.
  • Harcourt-Brown F (2002) Textbook of Rabbit Medicine. Butterworth-Heinemann.


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