|Genome: DNA Virus, dsDNA Virus||Structure: Enveloped Virus, Icosahedral Virus|
- Herpes Viruses are a family of related DNA viruses characterized by their capacity to produce latent infections which can re-activate to cause disease years after the initial infection. Because of their capacity to produce latent infections, herpes-class viruses can never be fully eliminated from the body. Herpes Viruses are categorized based on the speed of their replicative cycle and the identity of cells in which latency is established.
- Alpha-Herpes Viruses
- Alpha-Herpes Viruses replicate rapidly, tend to lyse infected cells, and establish latency in Neurons. Members include Herpes Simplex Virus, Varicella Zoster Virus.
- Beta-Herpes Viruses
- Beta-Herpes Viruses replicate slowly and result in enlargement of infected cells (i.e. cytomegaly). The most important member of this sub-group is Cytomegalovirus.
- Gamma-Herpes Viruses
- Gamma-Herpes Viruses also replicate slowly, tend to establish latency in lymphocytes, and have a predilection for causing neoplasms. The most important member of this sub-group is Epstein-Barr Virus.
- Many herpes viruses are treated with a related class of pharmaceuticals known as the Herpes Antivirals.