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Volume 26, Number 1—January 2020

Etymologia: Picobirnavirus

Yashpal S. MalikComments to Author  and Souvik Ghosh
Author affiliations: Indian Veterinary Research Institute, Izatnagar, India (Y.S. Malik); Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine, Basseterre, St. Kitts, West Indies (S. Ghosh)

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Picobirnavirus [pi-ko-burґnə-vi″rəs]  


Thumbnail of Picobirnavirus by negative stain electron microscopy, from Wikipedia,

Figure. Picobirnavirus by negative stain electron microscopy, from Wikipedia,

Picobirnavirus, the recently recognized sole genus in the family Picobirnaviridae (Figure), is a small (Pico, Spanish for small), bisegmented (bi, Latin for two), double-stranded RNA virus. Picobirnaviruses were initially considered to be birna-like viruses, and the name was derived from birnavirus (bisegmented RNA), but the virions are much smaller (diameter 35 nm vs. 65 nm).

Picobirnaviruses are reported in gastroenteric and respiratory infections. These infections were first described in humans and black-footed pigmy rice rats in 1988. Thereafter, these infections have been reported in feces and intestinal contents from a wide variety of mammals with or without diarrhea, and in birds and reptiles worldwide.



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  2. Malik  YS, Kumar  N, Sharma  K, Dhama  K, Shabbir  MZ, Ganesh  B, et al. Epidemiology, phylogeny, and evolution of emerging enteric Picobirnaviruses of animal origin and their relationship to human strains. BioMed Res Int. 2014;2014:780752. DOIPubMed
  3. Pereira  HG, Flewett  TH, Candeias  JA, Barth  OM. A virus with a bisegmented double-stranded RNA genome in rat (Oryzomys nigripes) intestines. J Gen Virol. 1988;69:274954. DOIPubMed
  4. Smits  SL, van Leeuwen  M, Schapendonk  CM, Schürch  AC, Bodewes  R, Haagmans  BL, et al. Picobirnaviruses in the human respiratory tract. Emerg Infect Dis. 2012;18:153940. DOIPubMed




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DOI: 10.3201/eid2601.et2601

Original Publication Date: December 04, 2019

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Table of Contents – Volume 26, Number 1—January 2020


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Yashpal S. Malik, Division of Biological Standardization, Indian Veterinary Research Institute, Izatnagar 243122, India;

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Page created: December 18, 2019
Page updated: December 18, 2019
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