Poxvirus and Rabies Branch

The Poxvirus and Rabies Branch is responsible for consultation, disease surveillance, and investigations related to poxviruses and rabies. The Branch is comprised of two teams: the Poxvirus Team and the Rabies Team.

  • Poxviruses are viruses that can affect both vertebrate and invertebrate animals and can lead to infections such as:
  • Rabies is an acute progressive encephalitis, caused by Lyssaviruses that affect all mammals (with carnivores and bats as the primary reservoirs), and is most often transmitted via the bite of an animal. Once disease occurs and symptoms appear, it is almost always fatal.

Both teams serve as World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Centers. The Poxvirus Team serves as one of two WHO Collaborating Centers for Smallpox and other Poxvirus Infections and the Rabies Team serves as the WHO Collaborating Center for Reference and Research on Rabies. The Rabies Team also serves as a World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) reference laboratory.

Activities of both teams include:

  • Diagnostic and reference services
  • Lab training for health departments, domestic/international organizations
  • Collaboration with private sector to develop and evaluate diagnostic assays and vaccines
  • Microbiology, molecular biology, and pathogenesis research