Introduction. Members of the family are viruses with a core containing the viral DNA in the form of a torus, a capsid (100 nm in diameter and composed of 162 capsomers), a tegument, which is a structure of variable thickness between the capsid and the envelope, and an envelope. The envelope is the trilaminar outer covering which contains numerous protrusions of spikes consisting of virally encoded glycoproteins. The resulting diameter of the virion varies from 120 to 300 nm.

Herpesviruses have been divided into three subfamilies on the basis of biological properties. The are herpesviruses with a variable host range, short replication cycle, rapid spread in cultured cells, a lytic effect on infected cells and a tropism for establishing a latent infection in sensory ganglia. The have a restricted host range, a longer replication cycle, an infection which progresses more slowly in cultured cells and a latent state that can be established in numerous cells and tissues.


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