DNA Viruses

Based on:
Ecker DJ, Sampath R, Willett P, Wyatt JR, Samant V, Massire C, Hall TA, Hari K, McNeil JA, Büchen-Osmond C, Budowle B. The Microbial Rosetta Stone Database: A compilation of global and emerging infectious microorganisms and bioterrorist threat agents BMC Microbiol. 2005; 5: 19.


  • Single-Stranded DNA Viruses: Parvoviridae
  • Double-Stranded DNA Viruses
    • Papillomaviridae
    • Polyomaviridae
    • Poxviridae
    • Herpesviridae



Single-Stranded DNA (ssDNA) Viruses

This group includes many important plant pathogenic viruses as well as genus Dependovirus that includes a number of adeno-associated viruses, which are dependent on a coinfection with helper adenoviruses or herpesviruses for their efficient replication.

viruses – ssDNA viruses –

Transmission Importance Disease description Selected literature
Parvoviridae – Parvovirinae – Erythrovirus – Human parvovirus B19
The main route of B19 transmission is respiratory, with a majority of infections occurring during childhood. Can also be transmitted via blood transfusion and organ transplantation. The majority of adult populations show immunological evidence of previous exposure to B19. Medically Important Human Pathogen Causes in a wide range of dermatologic manifestations. The specific skin findings include erythema infectiosum (fever, headache, and rashes of the face, trunk, and extremities) and papular purpuric “gloves-and-socks” syndrome. Nonspecific symptoms can also be present. Parsyan A, Candotti D. (Transfus Med. 2007);

Katta R. (Dermatol Clin. 2002);

“Parvovirus B19, Human”[Majr]

Back to top Nemose

Double-Stranded DNA (dsDNA) Viruses

viruses – dsDNA viruses, no RNA stage –




These viruses are grouped into multiple genera that, in turn, divided into hundreds of papillomavirus “types” .

Transmission Importance Disease description Selected literature
Transmission usually occurs through break in the skin or mucous membrane. Viruses are species-specific and tissue-restricted. Medically Important Human Pathogen Infections are manifested in neoplasms of the skin and mucous membranes. They are usually benign but some have a high risk for malignant progression. Human papillomavirus: classification and taxonomy of human papillomaviruses, life cycle and malignancy of HPV16, cancer progression, vaccines at MetaPathogen




Transmission Importance Disease description Selected literature
Polyomaviridae – JC polyomavirus
Ubiquitous in humans. Rarely present in oropharyngeal fluid and blood samples, even in those obtained from immunosuppressed individuals, but is commonly detected in urine, suggesting that urine contributes to transmission. Primary infections of children occur in late childhood. Ingestion route has been proposed. Medically Important Human Pathogen Infects children asymptomatically then persists in renal tissue. Upon reactivation under certain circumstances, can cause progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy and JCV granule cell neuronopathy. Zheng HC et al. (BMC Infect Dis. 2009);

Berger JR et al. (Clin Infect Dis. 2006);

“JC Virus”[Majr]

Polyomaviridae – BK polyomavirus
Ubiquitous in human populations. Infects 90% children and persists in the kidneys throughout the life. Primary infections usually occur in early childhood. Virus is commonly found in urine samples. Ingestion route has been proposed. Medically Important Human Pathogen Usually asymptomatic. Has been linked to occasional cases of cystitis in immunocompetent children, to glomerulonephritis in immunodeficient children, and to haemorrhagic cystitis in bone marrow transplant recipients. Yogo Y et al. (J Virol. 2007);

Shah KV. (Nephrol Dial Transplant. 2000);

“BK Virus”[Majr]




Transmission Importance Disease description Selected literature
Poxviridae – Chordopoxvirinae – Orthopoxvirus – Variola virus
Extensive studies have shown that most patients with smallpox were infected either by “face-to-face” contact or by contact with infected fomites. Aerial transmission of smallpox sometimes occured under certain conditions due to air convection within hospital buildings. HHS Select Agent; Validated Biological Weapon; NIAID Category A Priority Pathogen; CDC Notifiable Agent; High Potential For Bioengeneering Causes smallpox, an acute, highly contagious, often fatal infectious disease characterized by a biphasic febrile course and distinctive progressive skin eruptions. Vaccination has succeeded in eradicating smallpox worldwide. No infections have been reported since 1977 and the virus is now believed to be virtually extinct. [No authors listed] (Br Med J. 1970);

Li Y et al. (Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2007);


“Variola virus”[Majr]

Poxviridae – Chordopoxvirinae – Orthopoxvirus – Monkeypox virus
Infects rodents and primates. Usually transmitted to humans through bites or via contact with an animal’s blood. Interhuman transmission is relatively low (significantly less than smallpox). HHS Select Agent; Validated Biological Weapon; Emergent Infectious Agent; Zoonotic Agent; High Potential For Bioengeneering Clinical presentation in humans is similar to smallpox including fever, headaches, cough, and a painful rash. Parker S et al. (Future Microbiol. 2007);


“Monkeypox virus”[Majr]




Transmission Importance Disease description Selected literature
Herpesvirales – Herpesviridae – Alphaherpesvirinae – Simplexvirus – Macacine herpesvirus 1
(Synonyms: Cercopithecine herpesvirus 1Simian herpesvirus B)
Most transmissions occur through monkey bites or scratches. Infections through needlestick injuries or other laboratory-related accidents, cage scratches, or mucous membrane exposure to monkey body fluids have been documented. Human-to-human transmission is also possible. HHS Select Agent; Medically Important Human Pathogen; Zoonotic Agent Causes vesicular lesions of the mouth in monkeys. When the virus is transmitted to human it causes an acute encephalitis or encephalomyelitis, which is nearly always fatal. Huff JL, Barry PA. (Emerg Infect Dis. 2003);

Jensen K et al. (Emerg Infect Dis. 2004);

“Herpesvirus 1, Cercopithecine”[Majr]

Herpesvirales – Herpesviridae – Alphaherpesvirinae – Simplexvirus – Human herpesvirus 1
(Synonyms: Herpes simplex virus type 1Herpes simplex virus type-1 HSV-1)
Primary infection occurs mainly in infants and young children and then the virus becomes latent in the dorsal root ganglion. Main route of transmission is intermittent viral shedding by asymptomatic individuals in saliva and in tears. Medically Important Human Pathogen Periodically reactivated throughout life causing mostly benign conditions. Causes most forms of non-genital herpes simplex in humans. Arduino PG, Porter SR. (Oral Dis. 2006);

Kaufman HE et al. (Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2005);

“Herpesvirus 1, Human”[Majr]

Herpesvirales – Herpesviridae – Alphaherpesvirinae – Simplexvirus – Human herpesvirus 2
(Synonyms: Herpes simplex virus 2Herpes simplex virus type 2 HSV-2)
Transmitted by sexual intercourse and close personal contact. Medically Important Human Pathogen Associated with genital infections (Herpes genitalis). Kriebs JM. (J Midwifery Womens Health. 2008);

“Herpes genitalis”[Majr];

“Herpesvirus 2, Human”[Majr]

Herpesvirales – Herpesviridae – Alphaherpesvirinae – Varicellovirus – Human herpesvirus 3
(Synonyms: Varicella-zoster virusvaricella-zoster virus VZVHuman alphaherpesvirus 3)
Highly contagious. Spread by direct contact or respiratory route via droplet nuclei. Medically Important Human Pathogen; CDC Notifiable Pathogen Chickenpox usually affects children. Characterized by the appearance on the skin and mucous membranes of successive crops of typical pruritic vesicular lesions. Relatively benign in children, but may be complicated by pneumonia and encephalitis in adults. Herpes Zoster is an acute infectious disease caused by reactivation of latent virus. Characterized by severe neuralgic pain along the distribution of the affected nerve and crops of clustered vesicles over the area. “Herpes Zoster”[Majr]


“Herpesvirus 3, Human”[Majr]

Herpesvirales – Herpesviridae – Gammaherpesvirinae – Lymphocryptovirus – Human herpesvirus 4
(Synonyms: Epstein-Barr virus EBVHuman herpesvirus type 4)
Infects greater than 90% of the general population. Orally transmitted. Infects epithelial cells and establishes latency in memory B lymphocytes. Medically Important Human Pathogen Thought to be the causative agent of infectious mononucleosis and is strongly associated with oral hairy leukoplakiaBurkitt lymphoma, and other malignancies. Crawford DH. (Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2001)

Slots J et al. (J Periodontal Res. 2006);

“Herpesvirus 4, Human”[Majr]

Herpesvirales – Herpesviridae – Betaherpesvirinae – Cytomegalovirus – Human herpesvirus 5
(Synonyms: Human cytomegalovirusHuman cytomegalovirus HCMV)
Pregnant women are susceptible to intrauterine infection. Vertical transmission to the fetus occurs transplacentally. Breast milk is the main source of perinatal CMV infections. Also seen as an opportunistic infection in AIDS. Medically Important Human Pathogen 90% of CMV congenitally infected infants are asymptomatic at birth, approximately 10% develop cytomegalic inclusion diseases, with a 20–30% mortality rate. The salivary glands are the most common infection site in children, as are the lungs in adults. Forbes BA. (Clin Microbiol Rev. 1989);

“Cytomegalovirus Infections”[Majr]


Herpesvirales – Herpesviridae – Betaherpesvirinae – Roseolovirus – Human herpesvirus 6
(Synonyms: human herpesvirus 6 HHV-6herpes simplex virus type 6)
Serologic studies indicate that human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6) infects 90 percent of children by two years of age. Medically Important Human Pathogen HHV-6 antibodies are elevated in patients with AIDS, Sjogren’s syndrome, sarcoidosis, chronic fatigue syndrome, and certain malignancies. Causes exanthema subitum (roseola) in infants and young children and has been implicated in encephalitis. Zerr DM et al. (N Engl J Med. 2005);

“Exanthema Subitum”[Majr]

“Herpesvirus 6, Human”[Majr]

Herpesvirales – Herpesviridae – Betaherpesvirinae – Roseolovirus – Human herpesvirus 7
(Synonyms: human herpesvirus 7 HHV-7)
Molecular epidemiological analysis revealed that HHV-7 was transmitted horizontally from grandparents to parents to children through close contact within a household. Medically Important Human Pathogen HHV-7 has not been shown to cause a specific disease but together with HHV-6 contributes to the burden of disease in young children with suspected encephalitis or severe convulsions with fever. Yamada M. (Jpn J Infect Dis. 2001);

“Herpesvirus 7, Human”[Majr]

Herpesvirales – Herpesviridae – Gammaherpesvirinae – Rhadinovirus – Human herpesvirus 8
(Synonyms: Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus – Human herpesvirus 8; Acronyms: KSHV, HHV8)
Evidence exists for saliva as a route of transmission. The virus was also found in semen and in genital tracts of KSHV seropositive women. Medically Important Human Pathogen HHV8 is a causative agent of AIDS-related and “classical” Kaposi’s sarcoma (KS), tumor of the skin and urinary bladder. KS affects predominantly older men of Jewish, Mediterranean or black ancestry. Immunocompromized HIV-1 patients have 50% risk of developing KS. Horenstein MG et al. (J Cutan Pathol. 2008);

“Herpesvirus 8, Human”[Majr]

“Sarcoma, Kaposi”[Majr]