Important things to remember about Poxviruses


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Click Here "Infectious diseases introduced with Europeans, like smallpox and measles,  spread from one Indian tribe to another, far in advance of Europeans themselves, and killed an estimated 95% of the New World's Indian population."

-Jared Diamond 


1.  Poxviruses are the only DNA viruses that replicate in the cytoplasm

2.  Pox virions are the largest of any viral family

3.  Edward Jenner inoculated his vaccine recipients with cowpox, vaccinia is the virus behind the successful eradication, and smallpox is the disease that was eradicated

4.  Clinically, all poxvirus infections involve the skin

5.  Smallpox was the first disease to be completely eradicated - the last naturally occurring case was in Somalia in October 1977

6.  Eradication of smallpox was possible in large part because humans are the only reservoir of variola, vaccinia virus is an effective immunogen, and because variola only causes acute infections, after which the infected individual either dies or recovers with established lifelong immunity

7.  The last known samples of smallpox are kept on ice at high-security facilities in Russia and the U.S., to be used in the event that smallpox is used as a bioweapon

8.  In general, poxvirus infections are acute - there is no strong evidence for latent, persistent, or chronic infections

9.  Chickenpox is not a poxvirus!  The causal agent of chickenpox is VZV, which belongs to the herpes viral family

10.  Most poxviruses are zoonoses, but some are pathogenic for humans - variola, vaccinia, & molluscum contagiosum