Definition of Calicivirus

Calicivirus: A group of viruses belonging to the family Caliciviridae that includes:

  • Norovirus, a common cause of food poisoning and acute gastroenteritis in humans;
  • Sapovirus, formerly called "Sapporo-like virus" (SLV) and sometimes referred to as classic or typical calicivirus, which can also cause gastroenteritis in humans;
  • Vesivirus, the swine vesicular exanthema virus; and
  • Lagovirus, the rabbit haemorrhagic disease virus.

The hepatitis E virus, once considered a calicivirus, now belongs to an unassigned (or floating) genus called the hepatitis E-like viruses.

All of the caliciviruses are single-stranded RNA, nonenveloped viruses. Their genetic information is encoded in a single strand of RNA and they lack an envelope. The name calicivirus comes from their characteristic "Star of David" shape with cup-shaped (chalice) indentations.


Last Editorial Review: 6/14/2012

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