Gooseberry vein banding disease (GVBD) affects Ribes species and cultivars worldwide. It is the second most important virus-like disease in these crops after black currant reversion disease. In this paper, we describe a bacilliform virus, Gooseberry vein banding associated virus (GVBAV) which is associated closely with GVBD, and provide evidence that GVBAV is a distinct species within the genus Badnavirus. Purified GVBAV particles were ca. 120 x 30 nm in size and contained dsDNA. The sequence of a 1.5-kb DNA fragment amplified from viral genomic DNA was similar to those of a wide range of badnaviruses and contained motifs characteristic of the ribonucleases (RNase) H domain of the badnavirus open reading frame (ORF) III polyprotein. Phylogenetic analyses suggest that GVBAV is most closely related to Spiraea yellow leaf spot virus. Using sequence derived from the polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-amplified DNA fragment, virus-specific primers were designed. These primers were used in PCR to assay for GVBAV in a range of Ribes germplasm affected with GVBD, with other unrelated virus-like diseases and viruses found in Ribes and in healthy plants. GVBAV was detected in all of 58 GVBD-affected plants from diverse sources, but not from healthy Ribes plants nor from plants infected with other viruses.