Prediction and prevention of urban arbovirus epidemics: A challenge for the global virology community


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Abstract

The recent emergence and rapid spread of Zika virus in tropical regions of the Western Hemisphere took arbovirologists and public health officials by surprise, and the earlier transfers of West Nile and chikungunya viruses from the Old to the New World were also unexpected.These pandemics underscore the increasing threat of zoonotic arboviruses, especially those that are capable of entering into human-amplified, urban transmission cycles transmitted by Aedes (Stegomyia) aegypti and sometimes other Aedes (Stegomyia) spp. mosquitoes. This review serves as an introduction to a World Health Organization-sponsored conference to be held on June 18–19, 2018 in Geneva, titled “From obscurity to urban epidemics: what are the next urban arboviruses?” It is intended to set the stage and fuel discussions of future urban arbovirus threats, how we can predict these risks from known and unknown viruses, and what factors may change these risks over time.HIGHLIGHTSZoonotic arboviruses have repeatedly emerged into human-amplified urban transmission cycles.The recent unexpected emergence of Zika virus underscores our inability to anticipate and respond to such emergences.Assessment of future risks will require increased knowledge of known and unknown arboviruses with urbanization potential.Changes in climate, enzootic and urban habitats, and human populations will continue to affect urbanization risk.Evolutionary pressures on mosquitoes and other vectors will also affect the likelihood of future urban epidemics.

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