Genus: Varicellovirus

Genus: Varicellovirus

Distinguishing features

The predicted amino acid sequences of members form a distinct lineage within the subfamily (Figure 1.Alphaherpesvirinae).


See discussion under family description.

Genome organization and replication

Most members have a class 3 genome architecture (Figure 2.Herpesviridae). Varicella-zoster virus (VZV in the species Human alphaherpesvirus 3) and simian varicella virus (SVV in the species Cercopithecine alphaherpesvirus 9) have the shortest genome lengths observed for family members, with highly compact genomes of just 125 kbp. VZV has the lowest level of intraspecies diversity of the human herpesviruses (Peters et al., 2006, Tyler et al., 2007).


Members have a broad range of mammals as hosts, including humans and other primates, livestock, domestic animals and marine mammals. Latent infection is established in sensory neurons, although latent infection of other sites has been reported. VZV causes chickenpox upon primary infection and shingles (zoster) after reactivation of latent virus. Antigenicity Members may cross-react serologically.

Species demarcation criteria

See discussion under family description.

Member species

Exemplar isolate of the species
SpeciesVirus nameIsolateAccession numberRefSeq numberAvailable sequenceVirus Abbrev.
Bovine alphaherpesvirus 1bovine alphaherpesvirus 1; infectious bovine rhinotracheitis virusCooper/NVSL challenge 97-11JX898220Complete genomeBoAHV1; IBRV
Bovine alphaherpesvirus 5bovine alphaherpesvirus 5; bovine encephalitis herpesvirusSV507/99AY261359NC_005261Complete genomeBoAHV5
Bubaline alphaherpesvirus 1bubaline alphaherpesvirus 1; water buffalo herpesvirusb6KU936049NC_043054Complete genomeBuAHV1
Canid alphaherpesvirus 1canid alphaherpesvirus 1; canine herpesvirus194KT819633NC_030117Complete genomeCaAHV1; CHV
Caprine alphaherpesvirus 1caprine alphaherpesvirus 1; goat herpesvirusE/CHMG989243NC_043055Complete genomeCpAHV1
Cercopithecine alphaherpesvirus 9cercopithecine alphaherpesvirus 9; simian varicella virusDeltaAF275348NC_002686Complete genomeCeAHV9; SVV
Cervid alphaherpesvirus 1cervid alphaherpesvirus 1; red deer herpesvirusAnlierMH036942Complete genomeCvAHV1
Cervid alphaherpesvirus 2cervid alphaherpesvirus 2; reindeer herpesvirusNorwayMH036943Complete genomeCvAHV2
Cervid alphaherpesvirus 3cervid alphaherpesvirus 3; elk herpesvirusCanadaMH036941Partial genomeCvAHV3
Equid alphaherpesvirus 1equid alphaherpesvirus 1; equine abortion virusAb4AY665713NC_001491Complete genomeEqAHV1; EAV
Equid alphaherpesvirus 3equid alphaherpesvirus 3; equine coital exanthema virusAR/2007/C3AKM051845NC_024771Complete genomeEqAHV3
Equid alphaherpesvirus 4equid alphaherpesvirus 4; equine rhinopneumonitis virusNS80567AF030027NC_001844Complete genomeEqAHV4
Equid alphaherpesvirus 8equid alphaherpesvirus 8; asinine herpesvirus 3EHV-8/IR/2003/19MF431611Complete genomeEqAHV8
Equid alphaherpesvirus 9equid alphaherpesvirus 9; gazelle herpesvirusP19AP010838NC_011644Complete genomeEqAHV9
Felid alphaherpesvirus 1felid alphaherpesvirus 1; feline viral rhinotracheitis virusC-27FJ478159NC_013590Complete genomeFeAHV1; FVRV
Human alphaherpesvirus 3human alphaherpesvirus 3; varicella-zoster virusDumasX04370NC_001348Complete genomeHuAHV3; VZV
Monodontid alphaherpesvirus 1monodontid alphaherpesvirus 1; beluga whale alphaherpesvirus 1LN3131-1MF678601Complete genomeMoAHV1
Phocid alphaherpesvirus 1phocid alphaherpesvirus 1; harbour seal herpesvirusMH509440Partial genomePcAHV1
Suid alphaherpesvirus 1suid alphaherpesvirus 1; pseudorabies virusKaplanJF797218Complete genomeSuAHV1; PRV

Virus names, the choice of exemplar isolates, and virus abbreviations, are not official ICTV designations.