Members of the family Poxviridae form a large group of viruses that can infect humans as well as animals including the major domestic animal species (cattle, sheep, goat, swine, dog, cat and chicken). Poxviruses can be highly pathogenic for humans (i.e., Variola virus), of zoonotic importance (e.g., Monkeypox virus) or highly contagious among animal populations (e.g., Sheeppox virus). Therefore, laboratory confirmation of the specific poxvirus involved is, indeed, essential. This is especially true for the most notorious member, Variola virus, the smallpox virus, which might reemerge as a weapon, and also for those “exotic” poxviruses which are absent in many countries but still enzootic in other parts of the world. Today, poxvirus diagnostics covers the entire spectrum of either traditional (such as inoculation of embryonated eggs) or more advanced laboratory tests (such as genome sequencing or microarray assays). This chapter presents methods of sample collection and handling, and reviews techniques used in the diagnosis of poxvirus infections by briefly describing the principle and procedure of the method, and critically weighting the pros and cons as well as providing some examples of application for each method.
KeywordsRestriction Fragment Length Polymorphism Myxoma Virus Variola Virus Plaque Reduction Neutralization Test Lumpy Skin Disease Virus
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