The Ecology of Rhabdoviruses That Infect Vertebrates

  • Robert E. Shope
  • Robert B. Tesh
Part of the The Viruses book series (VIRS)


Rhabdoviruses infect vertebrate and invertebrate animals as well as plants. The life cycle of many rhabdoviruses involves replication in an arthropod and subsequent transmission to either a vertebrate animal or a plant. Thus, arthropods are the unifying life form in the natural history of many of these agents, an observation noted more than 30 years ago (Maramorosch, 1955). Ecological studies are incomplete, but available information suggests that arthropods were in the past essential to the maintenance of rhabdoviruses. It can be argued that rhabdoviruses evolved in arthropods and were originally maintained by vertical transmission, i.e., by passage through the egg. Some, such as Sigma virus, are still maintained exclusively by vertical transmission today (Brun and Plus, 1980). Others, because of the parasitic association of their arthropod host with plants or vertebrates, developed the ability to grow in plants or in vertebrate animals. Consequently, many rhabdoviruses are now maintained in arthropod-vertebrate-arthropod or arthropod-plant-arthropod cycles (Knudson 1973; K. M. Johnson et al., 1969). A few rhabdoviruses, such as rabies and some of the fish viruses, have adapted completely to vertebrates and no longer infect arthropods.


Rabies Virus Vesicular Stomatitis Virus Infectious Hematopoietic Necrosis Virus Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia Virus Bovine Ephemeral Fever Virus 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert E. Shope
    • 1
  • Robert B. Tesh
    • 1
  1. 1.Yale Arbovirus Research Unit, Department of Epidemiology and Public HealthYale University School of MedicineNew HavenUSA

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