A General Introduction has been added to each disease chapter in an attempt to give a brief updated overview of the taxonomic, biological and other characteristics of the virus family or group of bacteria /protozoa that cause disease in livestock and, where relevant, involve wildlife. As the text of the three-volume book Infectious Diseases of Livestock is currently under revision the Editors are aware that there are inconsistencies between the updated introductions to chapters and the content of the chapters themselves. Once the chapters have been updated – a process that is currently underway – these inconsistencies will be removed.

The family Rhabdoviridae contains a large number of diverse viruses, currently numbering 135 species distributed between 18 genera1. While most members of this family are so far unassociated with disease, some cause important diseases of animals and plants, including rabies (virus species name - Rabies lyssavirus) and rabies-like diseases of humans resulting from infection by related lyssaviruses, vesicular stomatitis in cattle, horses and pigs caused by a number of species in the Vesiculovirus genus and bovine ephemeral fever caused by Bovine fever ephemerovirus in cattle and water buffalo (Table 1).

Rhabdoviridae virions are enveloped with bullet-shaped (sometimes conical or in the case of plant rhabdoviruses, bacilliform), helically-coiled nucleocapsids. They have an extensive host-range that includes mammals (terrestrial and aquatic), birds, fish, reptiles, insects and plants. Together with seven other virus families, Rhabdoviridae are classified within the Order Mononegavirales, indicating that they have negative-sense, single-stranded RNA genomes (usually unsegmented).

Insect vectors are usually responsible for the transmission of members of the Rhabdoviridae to animals and plants.

New members of the family are discovered regularly which means that the number of genera and species increases continually. Furthermore, their discontinuous replication strategy gives rise to genome plasticity resulting in variation in genome organization and gene expression. This has been held to explain their ecological diversity and complex taxonomy2.

Table 1 Infections of mammalian livestock caused by viruses of the family Rhabdoviridae




Virus common name

Livestock species affected (source of infection)


Other virus species in the Genus



Bovine fever ephemerovirus

Bovine ephemeral fever virus

Cattle, water buffalo (mosquitoes & possibly midges)

Bovine ephemeral fever

Adelaide River ephemerovirus,
Berrimah ephemerovirus,
Kimberley ephemerovirus,
Katonkan ephemerovirus,
Koolpinyah ephemerovirus,
Obodhiang ephemerovirus,
Yata ephemerovirus


Rabies lyssavirus

Rabies virus

All (saliva of infected animals)



Duvenhage lyssavirus

Duvenhage virus


Rabies-related diseases

Aravan lyssavirus,
Bokelo lyssavirus,
Ikoma lyssavirus,
Irkut lyssavirus,
Khujand lyssavirus

European bat 1 lyssavirus

European bat lyssaviruses 1


European bat 2 lyssavirus

European bat
lyssavirus 2


Lagos bat lyssavirus

Lagos bat virus


Australian bat lyssavirus

Australian bat lyssavirus



Alagoas vesiculovirus

Vesicular stomatitis Alagoas virus

Cattle, horses, pigs (biting insects including sandflies)

Vesicular stomatitis

American bat vesiculovirus,
Carajas vesiculovirus,
Chandipura vesiculovirus,
Isfahan vesiculovirus,
Jurono vesiculovirus,
Malpais Spring vesiculovirus,
Maraba vesiculovirus,
Morreton vesiculovirus,
Perinet vesiculovirus,
Piry vesiculovirus,
Radi vesiculovirus,
Yug Bagdanovac vesiculovirus

Cocal vesiculovirus

Cocal virus

Indiana vesiculovirus

Vesicular stomatitis Indiana virus

New Jersey vesiculovirus

Vesicular stomatitis New Jersey virus

? - infection only confirmed in humans (bat bite)


  1. International Committee for Taxonomy of Viruses (accession date: 26/05/2017)
  2. MACLACHLAN N.J. & DUBOVI, E.J. (eds.), 2016. Veterinary Virology, 5th edition, Academic Press.

To see the full item, register today:

Sign in to Anipedia

Forgot your username or password? Click here.

Not registered yet? Sign up now.

Start using Anipedia today, by creating your account.

Register now