Medical Definition of Calicivirus

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Calicivirus: A group of viruses belonging to the family Caliciviridae that includes:

  • Norovirus, a common cause of food poisoning and acute gastroenteritis in humans;
  • Sapovirus, formerly called "Sapporo-like virus" (SLV) and sometimes referred to as classic or typical calicivirus, which can also cause gastroenteritis in humans;
  • Vesivirus, the swine vesicular exanthema virus; and
  • Lagovirus, the rabbit haemorrhagic disease virus.

The hepatitis E virus, once considered a calicivirus, now belongs to an unassigned (or floating) genus called the hepatitis E-like viruses.

All of the caliciviruses are single-stranded RNA, nonenveloped viruses. Their genetic information is encoded in a single strand of RNA and they lack an envelope. The name calicivirus comes from their characteristic "Star of David" shape with cup-shaped (chalice) indentations.

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Reviewed on 12/11/2018

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