Cervidpoxviruses have been found associated with non-parapox-like infections in free-ranging mule deer (Odocoileinae) in the USA. Disease is characterized by keratoconjunctivitis, potentially involving corneal ulceration, and crusty skin lesions around the face, nose, mouth and at the coronary bands. The significance of disease in the wild is unknown, but mortality associated with infections has been noted, with fawns potentially being most susceptible. Similar infections have been reported in reindeer in North America, but no virus was isolated.
Virions are brick-shaped with a surface structure of irregularly arranged filaments. They are approximately 250–292 × 179–187 nm in size. Nothing is known about the ether-sensitivity of infection.
Genome organization and replication
The dsDNA genome is approximately 166–177 kbp, encoding 169–170 genes; the G + C content is approximately 27%. Two isolates of mule deerpox virus (DPV-W83 and DPV-W84), recovered from similar geographical regions but one year apart, share 95% nucleotide identity over the unique region of their genomes. These two cervidpoxviruses differ from each other by the presence or absence of five genes. The linear genome structure is similar to all other chordopoxviruses with a central conserved core with species-specific genes at either end. DNA sequence comparisons of DPV-W83 with genomic sequences of other members of the subfamily Chordopoxvirinae indicate that DPV-W83 is most similar to members of the genera Capripoxvirus, Suipoxvirus, Leporipoxvirus and Yatapoxvirus, but the phylogenetic distance between DPV-W83 and members of these genera is similar to that between the genera (Afonso et al., 2005). DPV isolates are also distinguished from members of these genera by the presence of five DPV-specific genes and an ortholog of VACV A31R that has so far been observed only in orthopoxviruses and avipoxviruses.
For replication please see discussion under family description.
Species demarcation criteria
There is only one species in the genus, so demarcation criteria have not been defined.