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World J Virol . Feb 12, 2012; 1(1): 11-22
Published online Feb 12, 2012. doi: 10.5501/wjv.v1.i1.11
Emerging and re-emerging viruses: A global challenge illustrated by Chikungunya virus outbreaks
Christian A Devaux
Christian A Devaux, Center for the study of Pathogens and health Biotechnology-CPBS, UMR5236 CNRS-UM1-UM2, F-34293 Montpellier cedex 5, France
Author contributions: Devaux CA solely contributed to this paper.
Supported by Institutional funds from the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique
Correspondence to: Christian A Devaux, Director, Center for the study of Pathogens and health Biotechnology-CPBS, UMR5236 CNRS-UM1-UM2, 1919 route de Mende, F-34293 Montpellier cedex 5, France. christian.devaux@cpbs.cnrs.fr
Telephone: +33-434-359401 Fax: +33-434-359411
Received: June 6, 2011
Revised: September 7, 2011
Accepted: September 15, 2011
Published online: February 12, 2012

In recent decades, the issue of emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases, especially those related to viruses, has become an increasingly important area of concern in public health. It is of significance to anticipate future epidemics by accumulating knowledge through appropriate research and by monitoring their emergence using indicators from different sources. The objective is to alert and respond effectively in order to reduce the adverse impact on the general populations. Most of the emerging pathogens in humans originate from known zoonosis. These pathogens have been engaged in long-standing and highly successful interactions with their hosts since their origins are exquisitely adapted to host parasitism. They developed strategies aimed at: (1) maximizing invasion rate; (2) selecting host traits that can reduce their impact on host life span and fertility; (3) ensuring timely replication and survival both within host and between hosts; and (4) facilitating reliable transmission to progeny. In this context, Arboviruses (or ARthropod-BOrne viruses), will represent with certainty a threat for the coming century. The unprecedented epidemic of Chikungunya virus which occurred between 2005 and 2006 in the French Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean, followed by several outbreaks in other parts of the world, such as India and Southern Europe, has attracted the attention of medical and state authorities about the risks linked to this re-emerging mosquito-borne virus. This is an excellent model to illustrate the issues we are facing today and to improve how to respond tomorrow.

Keywords: Health threats, Emerging virus, Arbovirus, Chikungunya virus, Ecosystems, Biosurveillance