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      Risk factors for human disease emergence

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          Abstract

          A comprehensive literature review identifies 1415 species of infectious organism known to be pathogenic to humans, including 217 viruses and prions, 538 bacteria and rickettsia, 307 fungi, 66 protozoa and 287 helminths. Out of these, 868 (61%) are zoonotic, that is, they can be transmitted between humans and animals, and 175 pathogenic species are associated with diseases considered to be 'emerging'. We test the hypothesis that zoonotic pathogens are more likely to be associated with emerging diseases than non-emerging ones. Out of the emerging pathogens, 132 (75%) are zoonotic, and overall, zoonotic pathogens are twice as likely to be associated with emerging diseases than non-zoonotic pathogens. However, the result varies among taxa, with protozoa and viruses particularly likely to emerge, and helminths particularly unlikely to do so, irrespective of their zoonotic status. No association between transmission route and emergence was found. This study represents the first quantitative analysis identifying risk factors for human disease emergence.

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          Most cited references 28

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          Nipah virus: a recently emergent deadly paramyxovirus.

          A paramyxovirus virus termed Nipah virus has been identified as the etiologic agent of an outbreak of severe encephalitis in people with close contact exposure to pigs in Malaysia and Singapore. The outbreak was first noted in late September 1998 and by mid-June 1999, more than 265 encephalitis cases, including 105 deaths, had been reported in Malaysia, and 11 cases of encephalitis or respiratory illness with one death had been reported in Singapore. Electron microscopic, serologic, and genetic studies indicate that this virus belongs to the family Paramyxoviridae and is most closely related to the recently discovered Hendra virus. We suggest that these two viruses are representative of a new genus within the family Paramyxoviridae. Like Hendra virus, Nipah virus is unusual among the paramyxoviruses in its ability to infect and cause potentially fatal disease in a number of host species, including humans.
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            Factors in the emergence of infectious diseases.

             S. S. Morse (1995)
            "Emerging" infectious diseases can be defined as infections that have newly appeared in a population or have existed but are rapidly increasing in incidence or geographic range. Among recent examples are HIV/AIDS, hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, Lyme disease, and hemolytic uremic syndrome (a foodborne infection caused by certain strains of Escherichia coli). Specific factors precipitating disease emergence can be identified in virtually all cases. These include ecological, environmental, or demographic factors that place people at increased contact with a previously unfamiliar microbe or its natural host or promote dissemination. These factors are increasing in prevalence; this increase, together with the ongoing evolution of viral and microbial variants and selection for drug resistance, suggests that infections will continue to emerge and probably increase and emphasizes the urgent need for effective surveillance and control. Dr. David Satcher's article and this overview inaugurate Perspectives, a regular section in this journal intended to present and develop unifying concepts and strategies for considering emerging infections and their underlying factors. The editors welcome, as contributions to the Perspectives section, overviews, syntheses, and case studies that shed light on how and why infections emerge, and how they may be anticipated and prevented.
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              Origin of the West Nile virus responsible for an outbreak of encephalitis in the northeastern United States.

              In late summer 1999, an outbreak of human encephalitis occurred in the northeastern United States that was concurrent with extensive mortality in crows (Corvus species) as well as the deaths of several exotic birds at a zoological park in the same area. Complete genome sequencing of a flavivirus isolated from the brain of a dead Chilean flamingo (Phoenicopterus chilensis), together with partial sequence analysis of envelope glycoprotein (E-glycoprotein) genes amplified from several other species including mosquitoes and two fatal human cases, revealed that West Nile (WN) virus circulated in natural transmission cycles and was responsible for the human disease. Antigenic mapping with E-glycoprotein-specific monoclonal antibodies and E-glycoprotein phylogenetic analysis confirmed these viruses as WN. This North American WN virus was most closely related to a WN virus isolated from a dead goose in Israel in 1998.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B: Biological Sciences
                Phil. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. B
                The Royal Society
                0962-8436
                1471-2970
                July 29 2001
                July 29 2001
                July 29 2001
                July 29 2001
                : 356
                : 1411
                : 983-989
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Centre for Tropical Veterinary Medicine, University of Edinburgh, Easter Bush, Roslin, Midlothian, EH25 9RG, UK
                Article
                10.1098/rstb.2001.0888
                1088493
                11516376
                © 2001

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