Herpesviruses are host specific pathogens that are widespread among vertebrates. Genome sequence data demonstrate that most herpesviruses of fish and amphibians are grouped together (family Alloherpesviridae) and are distantly related to herpesviruses of reptiles, birds and mammals (family Herpesviridae). Yet, many of the biological processes of members of the order Herpesvirales are similar. Among the conserved characteristics are the virion structure, replication process, the ability to establish long term latency and the manipulation of the host immune response. Many of the similar processes may be due to convergent evolution. This overview of identified herpesviruses of fish discusses the diseases that alloherpesviruses cause, the biology of these viruses and the host-pathogen interactions. Much of our knowledge on the biology of Alloherpesvirdae is derived from research with two species: Ictalurid herpesvirus 1 (channel catfish virus) and Cyprinid herpesvirus 3 (koi herpesvirus).
Keywords: Cyprinid herpesvirus 3; Ictalurid herpesvirus 1; Koi herpesvirus; alloherpesvirus; channel catfish virus; herpesvirus latency.