The family Flaviviridae comprises the genus Flavivirus, which contains 65 related species and two possible members. They are small, enveloped RNA viruses (diameter 45 nm) with peplomers comprising a single glycoprotein E. Other structural proteins are designated C (core) and M (membrane-like). The single strand of RNA is infectious and has a molecular weight of about 4 X 10(6) and an m7G 'cap' at the 5' end but no poly(A) tract at the 3' end; it functions as the sole messenger. The gene sequence commences 5'-C-M-E.... The replication strategy and the mode of morphogenesis are distinct from those of the Togaviridae which are slightly larger and morphologically similar in some respects. Flaviviruses infect a wide range of vertebrates, and many are transmitted by arthropods.