Arthropod-borne viruses (arboviruses) have a long history of emerging to infect humans, but during recent decades, they have been spreading more widely and affecting larger populations. This is due to several factors, including increased air travel and uncontrolled mosquito vector populations. Emergence can involve simple spillover from enzootic (wildlife) cycles, as in the case of West Nile virus accompanying geographic expansion into the Americas; secondary amplification in domesticated animals, as seen with Japanese encephalitis, Venezuelan equine encephalitis, and Rift Valley fever viruses; and urbanization, in which humans become the amplification hosts and peridomestic mosquitoes, mainly Aedes aegypti, mediate human-to-human transmission. Dengue, yellow fever, chikungunya, and Zika viruses have undergone such urban emergence. We focus mainly on the latter two, which are recent arrivals in the Western Hemisphere. We also discuss a few other viruses with the potential to emerge through all of these mechanisms.
Keywords: Zika; arbovirus; chikungunya; dengue; mosquito; yellow fever.