ICTV Report on the (+) RNA virus family Matonaviridae

Matonaviridae is a family of small, enveloped viruses with single-stranded positive-sense RNA genomes of approximately 9.6–10 kb (Table 1.Matonaviridae). The single genus Rubivirus includes rubella virus (RuV, species Rubivirus rubellae) infecting humans, ruhugu virus (RuhV, species Rubivirus ruteetense) infecting bats and rustrela virus (RusV, species Rubivirus strelense) infecting wild rodents and other mammals. The structural and functional description of matonaviruses is mainly based on the characterization of RuV, since virus isolates are not yet available for RuhV and RusV.

RuV is transmitted via the respiratory route. Postnatal infection typically leads to a relatively benign disease in children and adults, characterized by rash and fever. In contrast to postnatal infection, which is only rarely associated with complications, RuV is an important teratogen: infection of seronegative women during the first trimester of pregnancy confers a high risk of miscarriage, stillbirth, or severe foetal malformations, known as congenital rubella syndrome (CRS). There is also an association between persistent RuV infection and granulomatous disease in adults. Safe and effective live-attenuated vaccines against rubella are globally available; RuV has been targeted for elimination by the WHO.

The zoonotic potential of RuhV and RusV is not yet known. Guangdong Chinese water snake rubivirus, tiger flathead matonavirus and tetronarce matonavirus are unclassified viruses that have been reported to be related to members of the family Matonaviridae.