The arrival, establishment and spread of exotic diseases: patterns and predictions

Nat Rev Microbiol. 2010 May;8(5):361-71. doi: 10.1038/nrmicro2336. Epub 2010 Apr 7.


The impact of human activities on the principles and processes governing the arrival, establishment and spread of exotic pathogens is illustrated by vector-borne diseases such as malaria, dengue, chikungunya, West Nile, bluetongue and Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fevers. Competent vectors, which are commonly already present in the areas, provide opportunities for infection by exotic pathogens that are introduced by travel and trade. At the same time, the correct combination of environmental conditions (both abiotic and biotic) makes many far-flung parts of the world latently and predictably, but differentially, permissive to persistent transmission cycles. Socioeconomic factors and nutritional status determine human exposure to disease and resistance to infection, respectively, so that disease incidence can vary independently of biological cycles.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alphavirus Infections / epidemiology
  • Alphavirus Infections / transmission
  • Animals
  • Biological Evolution
  • Bluetongue / epidemiology
  • Bluetongue / transmission
  • Chikungunya Fever
  • Climate
  • Communicable Diseases, Emerging / epidemiology*
  • Communicable Diseases, Emerging / transmission*
  • Dengue / epidemiology
  • Dengue / transmission
  • Disease Vectors
  • Epidemics
  • Hemorrhagic Fever, Crimean / epidemiology
  • Hemorrhagic Fever, Crimean / transmission
  • Humans
  • Malaria / epidemiology
  • Malaria / transmission
  • Travel
  • West Nile Fever / epidemiology
  • West Nile Fever / transmission