SourceNederlands Tijdschrift voor Geneeskunde, 145, 13, (2001), pp. 616--9
Article / Letter to editor
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Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Geneeskunde
SubjectPathogenesis, epidemiology, and treatment of microbial infections; Pathogenese, epidemiologie en behandeling van microbiële infecties
The emergence and re-emergence of viral infections is an ongoing process. Large-scale vaccination programmes led to the eradication or control of some viral infections in the last century, but new viruses are always emerging. Increased travel is leading to a rise in the importation of exotic infections such as dengue and hepatitis E, but also of hepatitis A, which is no longer endemic. Apart from import diseases new viruses have appeared (Nipah-virus and transfusion-transmitted virus). Existing viruses may suddenly cause more severe diseases, e.g. infection by enterovirus 71. The distribution area of a virus may change, e.g. in case of West Nile virus, an Egyptian encephalitis virus that appears to have established itself in the USA. Furthermore, there is no such thing as a completely new virus; it is always an existing virus that has adapted itself to another host or that was already present in humans but has only recently been discovered. A number of factors facilitate the emergence of new infectious diseases. These include intensive animal husbandry and the transport of animals. The unexpected appearance of West Nile virus in the western hemisphere was possibly due to animal transportation.
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