Family: Caliciviridae

Genus: Lagovirus


Distinguishing features

The strains in this genus form a distinct clade within the family Caliciviridae (Figure 4. Caliciviridae)


See discussion under family description

Genome organization and replication 

See discussion under family description. The genome is organized into two ORFs. ORF1 encodes the non-structural polyprotein, with the major structural protein gene (VP1) in frame with the non-structural polyprotein coding sequence. The translated region of ORF2 overlaps ORF1 by 5 nt in the rabbit hemorrhagic disease virus (RHDV) genome and 5 nt in the European brown hare syndrome virus (EBHSV) genomes. ORF2 encodes a small protein (VP2) of unknown function that has been identified as a minor structural component in the RHDV virion. 


Lagoviruses have characteristically been associated with infection in rabbits and hares (lagomorphs), and can cause epidemics with high mortality in these animals. There is no productive continuous cell culture system for lagoviruses but recently infection of a rabbit kidney cell line (RK-13) with a mutant RHDV has been reported (Zhu et al., 2017)

Species demarcation criteria

Lagoviruses are currently classified into two species, Rabbit hemorrhagic disease virus and European brown hare syndrome virus. However, based on phylogenetic relationships, a single species of lagovirus, tentatively called “Lagovirus europaeus”, has been proposed (Le Pendu et al., 2017). This proposed species is divided into two genogroups that correspond to RHDV- and EBHSV-related viruses (Wirblich et al., 1994). Genogroups were subdivided into genotypes, which could be further subdivided into phylogenetically well-supported variants (Le Pendu et al., 2017)