Human arbovirus infections worldwide

Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2001 Dec;951:13-24. doi: 10.1111/j.1749-6632.2001.tb02681.x.


Viral diseases transmitted by blood-feeding arthropods (arboviral diseases) are among the most important of the emerging infectious disease public health problems facing the world at the beginning of the third millennium. There are over 534 viruses listed in the arbovirus catalogue, approximately 134 of which have been shown to cause disease in humans. These are transmitted principally by mosquitoes and ticks. In the last two decades of the twentieth century, a few new arboviral diseases have been recognized. More important, however, is the dramatic resurgence and geographic spread of a number of old diseases that were once effectively controlled. Global demographic and societal changes, and modern transportation have provided the mechanisms for the viruses to break out of their natural ecology and become established in new geographic locations where susceptible arthropod vectors and hosts provide permissive conditions for them to cause major epidemics. West Nile virus is just the the latest example of this type of invasion by exotic viruses. This paper will provide an overview of the medically important arboviruses and discuss several in more detail as case studies to illustrate our tenuous position as we begin the twenty-first century.

MeSH terms

  • Aedes
  • Animals
  • Arbovirus Infections / epidemiology*
  • Dengue / epidemiology
  • Global Health
  • Humans
  • Ticks
  • United States / epidemiology
  • West Nile Fever / epidemiology
  • Yellow Fever / epidemiology