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Definition of POXVIRUS
: any of a family (Poxviridae) of brick-shaped or ovoid double-stranded DNA viruses that have a surface lipoprotein membrane covered with tubular or globular structures and that include the vaccinia virus and the causative agents of cowpox, myxomatosis of rabbits, and smallpox
Origin of POXVIRUS
First Known Use: 1941
Medical Definition of POXVIRUS
: any of the family Poxviridae of brick-shaped or ovoid double-stranded DNA viruses
Any of a group of viruses responsible for a wide range of pox diseases in humans and other animals. Poxvirus was the cause of smallpox. (Human chickenpox is caused by varicella-zoster virus.) The virus particle is somewhat brick-shaped, and its surface is studded with hollow spikes. It contains DNA. Unlike other DNA viruses, poxviruses appear to develop entirely within the cytoplasm of affected cells. The virus of rabbitpox has been used with mixed success in Australia to control the wild rabbit population.