Definition of Orthopox
Orthopox: The family of viruses to which belongs vaccinia, the virus that causes smallpox.
Other members of the orthopox family of viruses capable of infecting humans include:
Poxviruses are very large rectangular viruses the size of small bacteria. They have a complex internal structure with a large double-stranded DNA genome enclosed within a "core" that is flanked by 2 "lateral bodies". The surface of the virus particle is covered with filamentous protein components, so that the particles have the appearance of a "ball of knitting wool". The entire particle is enclosed in an envelope derived from the host cell membranes. Most poxviruses are host-species specific, but vaccinia is a remarkable exception. True pox viruses are antigenically rather similar, so that infection by one elicits immune protection against the others.
Last Editorial Review: 6/14/2012
Back to MedTerms online medical dictionary A-Z List
Need help identifying pills and medications?
- Allergic Skin Disorders
- Bacterial Skin Diseases
- Bites and Infestations
- Diseases of Pigment
- Fungal Skin Diseases
- Medical Anatomy and Illustrations
- Noncancerous, Precancerous & Cancerous Tumors
- Oral Health Conditions
- Papules, Scales, Plaques and Eruptions
- Scalp, Hair and Nails
- Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)
- Vascular, Lymphatic and Systemic Conditions
- Viral Skin Diseases
- Additional Skin Conditions