Home » Morbilliviruses


The Morbillivirus genus contains many significant pathogens relevant for both public and animal health. Current information from the ICTV website (http://www.ictvonline.org) classifies the following viruses as members of this genus.

1. Measles virus (MV)
2. Rinderpest virus (RPV)
3. Peste-des-petits-ruminants virus (PPRV)
4. Canine distemper virus (CDV)
5. Cetacean morbillivirus (CeMV)
6. Phocine distemper virus (PDV)

From a public health point of view MV is clearly one of the most significant diseases in human history. Despite the availability of a vaccine this virus still causes a great number of deaths in the developing world. In addition this virus is re-emerging in the developed world in response to waning levels of vaccination.

The morbillivirus genus also contains two very important diseases of ruminants; RPV and PPRV. RPV which infects cattle and even-toed ungulates was, in the past, responsible for devastating epidemics in agricultural and wild-life populations. Thanks to an efficient vaccine and a concerted campaign this virus has now been eradicated (as of 2010) (http://www.oie.int/for-the-media/rinderpest/). This, along with smallpox, is the only virus to have ever been eradicated. The situation for PPRV, which infects small ruminants such as sheep and goats, is more complex. A vaccine is available however there is currently no organised eradication campaign. Sheep and goats represent the mainstay of subsistence farming in many areas of the developing world. PPRV and the disease it causes therefore disproportionately affect the poor in many areas where this virus is endemic (across Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and Southern Asia).

The other important viruses in this genera are CDV which infects dogs and a range of other hosts as well as CeMV and PDV which infect aquatic mammals.