Ectromelia (Mousepox) Virus

  • R. M. L. Buller
  • G. D. Wallace
Part of the Developments in Veterinary Virology book series (DVVI, volume 6)


Ectromelia virus, an orthopoxvirus, is a natural pathogen of colonized mice, and is the causative agent of mousepox. This disease follows three basic courses in mice susceptible to infection: 1) in the C57BL strains which express an innate resistance gene(s), and have a H-2b MHC complex, the disease is inapparent; 2) in the A strains of mice which lack the innate resistance gene, a fulminating, acute disease with 100% mortality is observed; and 3) in strains such as BALB/c and DBA, an intermediate disease course is noted which may be acute or chronic. Severe disease and death is associated with necrotic lesions in the liver and the reticulo-endothelial system, with the spleen and the lymph nodes draining the initial site of infection being most affected. The major route of infection in nature is via abrasions on the surface of the skin which come in contact with infectious bedding, and there is no convincing evidence of aerosol transmission of the virus between cages and rooms. Mice infected either naturally or experimentally transmit the virus for a specific period of time depending on a number of factors, and surviving mice are then resistant to severe disease on reinfection, in certain cases, for a lifetime. Since virus transmission is through contact, epizootics may effectively be dealt with by localized quarantine and serologic monitoring, with the removal of cages which contain an animal which undergoes sero-conversion. The wholesale slaughter of mice exposed to this agent is not an acceptable control measure based on the known biology of the virus.


Infected Mouse Inbred Strain Wood Mouse Susceptible Mouse Chick Embryo Fibroblast 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, Boston 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. M. L. Buller
    • 1
  • G. D. Wallace
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of Viral Diseases, National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious DiseasesNational Institutes of HealthBethesdaUSA

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