Exotic viral diseases

Exotic viral diseases

Viral diseases that occur only rarely in human populations of developed countries. However, many of these diseases cause significant human morbidity and mortality in underdeveloped areas, and have the proven capacity to be transported to population centers in developed countries and to cause explosive outbreaks or epidemics. Most of the exotic viruses are zoonotic, that is, they are transmitted to humans from an ongoing life cycle in animals or arthropods; the exception is smallpox.

Important diseases caused by exotic viruses include yellow fever, Venezuelan equine encephalitis, Rift Valley fever, tick-borne encephalitis, Crimean hemorrhagic fever, rabies, Lassa fever, hemorrhagic fever, and Marburg and Ebola hemorrhagic fevers. Control of these diseases is often very difficult because of the lack of detailed knowledge about the natural history of the viruses in their natural animal hosts, and because of the difficulty of controlling natural populations of alternative hosts such as insects or rodents.

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