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Virus classification
Group: Group I (dsDNA)
Order: Herpesvirales
Family: Herpesviridae
Subfamily: Betaherpesvirinae


Betaherpesvirinae are a subfamily of viruses beneath the Herpesviridae family; members are distinguished by reproducing less quickly than other subfamilies of Herpesviridae.

Betaherpesvirinae establish latency (site where virus lies dormant until reactivated) in leukocytes. This is different from Alphaherpesvirinae, which establish latency in neurons, and Gammaherpesvirinae, which establish latency in cells of the immune system, such as B-cells.

There are four known member species of the Betaherpesvirinae subfamily that are infectious for humans:

Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV, HHV-5) "seems to have a large impact on immune parameters in later life and may contribute to increased morbidity and eventual mortality."[2] Human herpesvirus 6A (HHV-6A) has been described as more neurovirulent,[3] and as such is more frequently found in patients with neuroinflammatory diseases such as multiple sclerosis.[4] Both human herpesvirus 6B (HHV-6B) and human herpesvirus 7 (HHV-7), as well as other viruses, can cause a skin condition in infants known as exanthema subitum, roseola infantum (rose rash of infants) or the sixth disease.

The Herpesviridae Study Group has proposed that the subfamily Betaherpesvirinae be divided into the following four genera:[5]


  1. ^ Adams, M. J.; Carstens, E. B. (2012). "Ratification vote on taxonomic proposals to the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (2012)". Archives of Virology 157 (7): 1411–22. doi:10.1007/s00705-012-1299-6. PMID 22481600. 
  2. ^ Caruso, Calogero; Buffa, Silvio; Candore, Giuseppina; Colonna-Romano, Giuseppina; Dunn-Walters, Deborah; Kipling, David; Pawelec, Graham (2009). "Mechanisms of immunosenescence". Immunity & Ageing 6: 10. doi:10.1186/1742-4933-6-10. PMC 2723084. PMID 19624841. 
  3. ^ De Bolle, L.; Van Loon, J.; De Clercq, E.; Naesens, Lieve (2005). "Quantitative analysis of human herpesvirus 6 cell tropism". Journal of Medical Virology 75 (1): 76–85. doi:10.1002/jmv.20240. PMID 15543581. 
  4. ^ Álvarez-Lafuente, Roberto; García-Montojo, Marta; De Las Heras, Virginia; Bartolomé, Manuel; Arroyo, Rafael (2006). "Clinical parameters and HHV-6 active replication in relapsing—remitting multiple sclerosis patients". Journal of Clinical Virology 37: S24–6. doi:10.1016/S1386-6532(06)70007-5. PMID 17276363. 
  5. ^ Taxonomic Proposals from the Herpesviridae Study Group

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