Lyssavirus (from Lyssa, the Greek goddess of madness, rage, and frenzy) is a genus of viruses belonging to the family Rhabdoviridae, in the order Mononegavirales. This group of RNA viruses includes the rabies virus traditionally associated with the disease.
Viruses typically have either helical or cubic symmetry. Lyssaviruses have helical symmetry, so their infectious particles are approximately cylindrical in shape. This is typical of plant-infecting viruses. Human-infecting viruses more commonly have cubic symmetry and take shapes approximating regular polyhedra.
The structure consists of a spiked outer envelope, a middle region consisting of matrix protein M, and an inner ribonucleocapsid complex region, consisting of the genome associated with other proteins.
Based on recent phylogenetic evidence, lyssaviruses are categorized into seven major species. In addition, five species recently have been discovered: West Caucasian bat virus, Aravan virus, Khujand virus, Irkut virus and Shimoni bat virus. The major species include rabies virus (species 1), Lagos bat virus (species 2), Mokola virus (species 3), Duvenhage virus (species 4), European Bat lyssaviruses type 1 and 2 (species 5 and 6), and Australian bat lyssavirus (species 7).
Based on biological properties of the viruses, these species are further subdivided into phylogroups 1 and 2. Phylogroup 1 includes genotypes 1, 4, 5, 6, and 7, while phylogroup 2 includes genotypes 2 and 3. The nucleocapsid region of lyssavirus is fairly highly conserved from genotype to genotype across both phylogroups; however, experimental data have shown the lyssavirus strains used in vaccinations are only from the first species(i.e. classic rabies).
Species 1, classic rabies, is prevalent throughout most of the world and can be carried by any warm blooded mammal. The other species (2 through 7) have much less diversity in carriers. Only select hosts can carry each of the viral species. Also, these other species are particular only to a specific geographic area. Bats are known to be an animal vector for all identified lyssavirus species except the Mokola virus.
- Virus Taxonomy: 2013 Release. ictvonline.org
- Kuzmin, I.; Hughes, G.; Botvinkin, A.; Orciari, L.; Rupprecht, C. (2005). "Phylogenetic relationships of Irkut and West Caucasian bat viruses within the genus and suggested quantitative criteria based on the N gene sequence for lyssavirus genotype definition". Virus Research 111 (1): 28–25. PMID 15896400. doi:10.1016/j.virusres.2005.03.008.
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- WHO Rabnet/CDC Map Production (2008). "Rabies, countries or areas at risk". World Health Organization.
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- Botvinkin; Poleschuk, E. M.; Kuzmin, I. V.; Borisova, T. I.; Gazaryan, S. V.; Yager, P.; Rupprecht, C. E. (2003). "Novel Lyssaviruses Isolated from Bats in Russia". Emerging Infectious Diseases 9 (12): 1623–1625. PMC 3034350. PMID 14720408. doi:10.3201/eid0912.030374.
- Arai; Kuzmin, I. V.; Kameoka, Y.; Botvinkin, A. D. (2003). "New Lyssavirus Genotype from the Lesser Mouse-eared Bat (Myotis blythi), Kyrghyzstan". Emerging Infectious Diseases 9 (3): 333–337. PMC 2958534. PMID 12643828. doi:10.3201/eid0903.020252.
- World Health Organization (2005). WHO Expert Consulation on Rabies (PDF). WHO technical report series. Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization. ISBN 92-4-120931-3.
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