Basic information and current topics regarding Flaviviridae

General Flavivirus Info

Picture:  The flavivirus!  Depiction of  the enveloped, icosahedral virus, including 3 capsid proteins and the genetic material.  Picture source: http://www.expasy.org (see reference for full citation).

Flaviviruses were known for their infectious properties long before they were classified.  The origin of the flavivirus is Africa, and the first reported cases in the Americas was in the 17th century1. Joseph Conrad is thought to have suffered from yellow fever while writing his 1902 novel, Heart of Darkness, which was written and set in the African Congo.  Multiple outbreaks of yellow fever were also common along the Mississippi River in the mid 1800’s.  One of the more interesting parts of Flaviviruses are their transmission vectors, the most famous of which are mosquitos.  Flaviviruses are one of three genera that make up the Flaviviridea family of viruses.  They are (+)-sense, single stranded RNA icosahedral viruses that are surrounded by an envelope.  All flavivirus are similar in size, ranging from about 40-65 nm.  Flaviviruses also share a common genome size of about 9500-12500 nucleotides 2,3.


Picture: Viral Zone: Flavivirus. Accessed April 2, 2011. Expert Protein Analysis System.


1. North Dakota Department of Health: Department of Preparedness & Response. Flavivirus Fact Sheet.  Accessed April 2, 2011. (C) 2005. North Dakota Department of Health. < http://www.ndhealth.gov/EPR/public/viral/FlavivirusFact.htm>

2. Lindenbach, B. D., Rice, C. M. (2001). Flaviviridae: the viruses and their replication. In Fields Virology, 4th ed. (D. M. Knipe, and P. M. Howley, eds.) pp. 991-1041. Lippincott Williams and Wilkins, Philadelphia.

3. N. J. Dimmock, A. J. Easton, KN., et al. (2007). Introduction to Modern Virology, 6th ed. pp. 453-454. Blackwell Publishing, Massachusetts.