Emerging viral infections are becoming a serious problem in Europe in the recent years. This is particularly true for severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), West Nile virus (WNV) disease, Toscana virus (TOSV) disease, and potentially for avian influenza virus (H5N1). In contrast, emergence or re-emergence of severe viral infections, including tick borne encephalitis virus, and viral haemorrhagic fever caused by Hantavirus and dengue virus have been frequently reported in several European countries. Laboratory diagnosis of these viral infections based on viral isolation or detection by immune electron microscopy, immunoassay and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) has dramatically improved in the recent years, and SARS represents a good example of a diagnostic approach to emerging viral infections. Finally, old and new promising agents are in the pipeline of pharmaceutical companies to treat emerging viral infections. However only prevention based on large epidemiological studies, and research and development of new vaccines may be able to control and eventually eradicate these deadly viral infections.
2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.