Poxvirus Diseases

(Ortho: from Greek orthos, “straight”)

The genus Orthopoxvirus contains a number of species that can infect animals and humans. The most well known member of the genus is variola virus, the causative agent of smallpox. Other notable members include vaccinia virus which is used in the current smallpox vaccine; cowpox virus, first introduced by Edward Jenner in the late 18th Century as the material of the first vaccine; and monkeypox virus.

  • Camelpox virus
  • Cowpox virus
  • Ectromelia virus
  • Horsepox virus
  • Monkeypox virus
  • Raccoonpox virus
  • Skunkpox virus
  • Taterapox virus
  • Uasin Gishu virus
  • Vaccinia virus (smallpox vaccine)
  • Variola (smallpox) virus
  • Volepox virus

(Para: from Greek para, “by side of”)

Parapoxviruses can infect a variety of livestock animals including sheep, goats, and cattle. Human infection is normally associated with an occupation involving sheep, goats, and cattle.

Tentative members
  • Camel contagious ecthyma (Ausdyk) virus
  • Chamois contagious ecthyma virus
  • Parapoxvirus of reindeer virus
  • Sealpox virus

Molluscum: from Latin molluscum, “clam” or “snail”)

Molluscum contagiosum is the only member of the Molluscipoxvirus genus. Molluscum contagiosum only infects humans and is a common infection of children and immunodeficient individuals.


(Yata: from the combination of Yaba and Tanapoxvirus)

Yatapoxviruses infect both humans and primates across equatorial Africa. Species in this genus are named for the location in which they were identified, Yaba (Lagos, Nigeria) and the Tana River Basin (Kenya). The natural host of yatapoxviruses is unknown.

  • Tanapox, Yaba-like disease virus
  • Yaba monkey tumor virus

(Capri: from Latin caper, “goat”)

Capripoxviruses cause infection in cattle, sheep, and goats. Infection can cause high morbidity and outbreaks of Capripoxviruses can have profound economic impact for farmers. The viruses in this genus are listed by the World Organizations for Animal Health (OIE: Office International des Epizooties) as important animal diseases that require notification.

  • Sheeppox virus
  • Goatpox virus
  • Lumpy skin disease virus

(Sui: from the Latin sus, “swine”)

Swinepox virus is the sole member of the Suipoxvirus genus. Swine are the only known host for this virus.

  • Swinepox

(Lepori: from Latin lupus, “hare”)

Members of the Leporipoxvirus genus infect rabbits, hares, and squirrels. Myxoma virus was used in Australia in the 1950s as a pest control to try and eradicate feral European rabbits. Transmission of leporipoxviruses is primarily through the mosquito although other biting insects such as fleas may also transmit virus.

  • Myxoma virus
  • Shope fibroma virus (Rabbit fibroma)
  • Squirrel fibroma virus
  • Hare fibroma virus

(Avi: from Latin avis, “bird”)

Avipoxviruses infect a number of domestic and wild birds and can be identified as causing disease in at least 232 species in 23 orders. Transmission usually occurs by skin abrasions, inhalation, or by biting insects, such as mosquitoes.

  • Canarypox virus
  • Fowlpox virus
  • Juncopox virus
  • Mynahpox virus
  • Pigeonpox virus
  • Psittacinepox virus
  • Quailpox virus
  • Sparrowpox virus
  • Starlingpox virus
  • Turkeypox virus
Tentative members
  • Crowpox virus
  • Peacockpox virus
  • Penguinpox virus