Arboviruses

The arboviruses (Section 15.2) have a propensity for producing new diseases unmatched by any other organism. At quite regular intervals, new arboviral diseases appear or those normally restricted to small areas of the world spread to new areas or become more important as human diseases. Examples are West Nile virus, which has appeared for the first time in North America, Rift Valley fever, which was normally confined to Africa, but has now spread to Asia (Section 15.2) and Crimea-Congo disease, which now has a worldwide distribution (Section 16.9.2).

The number of arbovirus infections in the world is enormous (Chapter 19) and new ones are likely to appear at any time. Although they are mainly transmitted by mosquitoes or ticks, it is likely that the reservoir will be in birds or mammals, as new-species adaptations, similar to the diseases mentioned above, seems to be how new diseases generally arise in the human population.

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