The Paramyxoviridae family is divided into three genera: Paramyxovirus, Pneumovirus and Morbillivirus. In the last group, there are four closely related viruses which are seriously pathogenic for man and animals, and usually cause acute diseases. At least two of them (measles and canine distemper viruses) can cause a persistent infection which leads to a chronic disease of the nervous system that, in the end, is fatal. For a long time, the biochemical analysis of morbilliviruses was hampered by the high susceptibility of some of their proteins to proteolysis. With cloning and sequencing technology, more data on the biology of those viruses are now available.