The Herpesviridae represent a family of diverse and complex viruses of vertebrates (Roizman et al., 1992; Roizman, 1996) and are believed to be of comparatively ancient origin (Karlin el al., 1994a; McGeoch et al., 1995). Many mammalian species are host to more than one herpesvirus species. In humans, e.g., an eighth distinct herpesvirus species has recently been discovered (Chang et al., 1994; Moore et aI., 1996). Disease associated with lytic herpesvirus infection in their natural hosts varies considerably from mild, superficial mucocutaneous lesions, acute respiratory disease, benign Iymphoproliferative disorders to fatal generalized infections and congenital malformations (Peterslund, 1991). Besides certain viral factors, immuno-(in)competence of the natural host constitutes a major pathogenic factor (Fawl & Roizman, 1994). Some herpesviruses also display transforming properties (e.g. Meinl et al., 1995; Thorley-Dawson el al., 1996) or act as co-factors in tumorigenesis (Nazarin, 1979; Khanna et al., 1995; Mesri et al., 1996). Herpesviruses characteristically establish life-long latenl infections in their hosts (Stevens, 1994). Periodically, latent (silent) virus can become reactivated leading to limited lytic replication and shedding of infectious particles. Latently infected hosts, therefore, represent the major herpesvirus reservoir.

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EU, Ministry of Culture and Science (Netherlands), Lower Saxony (Germany), Dutch Seal Rehabilitation and Research Center (Pieterburen, Netherlands)
A.D.M.E. Osterhaus (Albert)
Erasmus University Rotterdam
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Harder, T. (1997, October 29). Herpesviruses and morbilliviruses of aquatic and terrestrial carnivores. Retrieved from