Camelpox Virus

Authored by: Vinayagamurthy Balamurugan , Gnanavel Venkatesan , Veerakyathappa Bhanuprakash , Raj Kumar Singh

Manual of Security Sensitive Microbes and Toxins

Print publication date:  April  2014
Online publication date:  April  2014

Print ISBN: 9781466553965
eBook ISBN: 9781466553989
Adobe ISBN:


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Camelpox virus (CMLV) is a causative agent of an economically important contagious, often sporadic, and notifiable to Office International des Epizooties (World Organisation for Animal Health; OIE-WOAH) skin disease of camelids. 1 CMLV (family: Poxviridae, subfamily: Chordopoxvirinae, genus: Orthopoxvirus [OPV]) is closely related to variola virus (VARV) (the causative agent of smallpox) and was earlier thought to be a zoonotic agent, but so far, little evidence has been documented. Although camelpox has presumably existed for millennia, its causative agent was not isolated until the early 1970s, during the opening phase of the global smallpox eradication campaign. 2,3 The disease, restricted to camels, is enzootic in almost every region where camel rearing/breeding is practiced with the exception of Australia. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the total world camel population is ≈25 million ( The disease camelpox is confined to camel-rearing belts particularly in developing countries and causes economic impact due to considerable loss in terms of morbidity, mortality, loss of weight, and reduction in milk yield. Effective control of any disease warrants a prophylactic as well as a rapid, specific, and sensitive assay(s) for diagnosis and molecular epidemiological studies. The virus has gained attention from researchers due to its recent emergence with close genetic relatedness to VARV and carrying genes responsible for host immune-evasion mechanisms. The nature of occurrence, mode of transmission by contact, and difficulty in detection and identification make this agent a potential biological or bioterror weapon like smallpox agent, creating panic and fear among common people. Considering the nature of the virus, an improved diagnostics and control methods would be of immense value to curtail the infection in the field. This chapter provides a comprehensive note on CMLV with particular reference to its classification, epidemiology, pathogenesis, biology of the disease, diagnostic approaches, and control measures with perspectives or future challenges.

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