Members of the genus Macropopoxvirus have been isolated, so far, in only two species of kangaroo in Australia. Disease associated with the macropopoxviruses is characterised by single or multiple wart-like cutaneous lesions around the face, feet and tail; that are generally self-limiting and are thought to spontaneously resolve over a few months. Several other macropodid species have been reported to manifest clinically similar lesions. There is no evidence that macropoxviruses are zoonotic.
Enveloped virions are generally brick-shaped and measure approximately 273 × 186 nm. Nothing is known about the ether-sensitivity of infection.
Genome organization and replication
The dsDNA genome (167–170 kbp), encodes 162–165 genes; G + C content is approximately 54%. Approximately 92 of the genes in the central core of the genome are colinear with those of the orthopoxviruses and most other viruses in the subfamily Chordopoxvirnae, although some unique genes are also found in this region. The variable genomic regions at either end of the genome contain approximately 30–40 genes unique within the poxviruses and may reflect the marsupial host of macropoxviruses (Bennett et al., 2017). The scarcity of detailed genomic information for kangaroos means the functions of many of these unique macropoxvirus genes remains obscure.
For replication, please see discussion under family description.
Species demarcation criteria
The general chordopoxvirus classification criteria of <98% nucleotide identity across the central core of the genome is used to delineate species, whereas >98% identity indicates separate strains of the same species.