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Chapter 6 : RNA Viruses: A Case Study of the Biology of Emerging Infectious Diseases

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RNA Viruses: A Case Study of the Biology of Emerging Infectious Diseases, Page 1 of 2

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Abstract:

Viruses account for only a small fraction of the 1400 or more different species of pathogen that plague humans—the great majority are bacteria, fungi, or helminths ( ). However, as both the continuing toll of childhood infections such as measles and recent experience of AIDS and influenza pandemics illustrate, viruses are rightly high on the list of global public health concerns ( ). Moreover, the great majority of newly recognized human pathogens over the past few decades have been viruses ( ) and a large fraction of emerging infectious disease “events” have involved viruses ( ).

Citation: Woolhouse M, Adair K, Brierley L. 2014. RNA Viruses: A Case Study of the Biology of Emerging Infectious Diseases, p 83-97. In Atlas R, Maloy S (ed), One Health. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/microbiolspec.OH-0001-2012

Key Concept Ranking

Primate T-lymphotropic virus 3
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Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome
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Figures

Image of Figure 1
Figure 1

A representation of the pathogen pyramid. Each level of the pyramid represents a different degree of interaction between a virus and a human host. Level 1 corresponds to exposure of humans, level 2 to the ability to infect humans, level 3 to the ability to transmit from one human to another, and level 4 to the ability to cause epidemics or persist as an endemic infection. Arrows indicate pathways that viruses may take to reach each level. For example, a level 4 virus may arrive at that state directly, simply by exposure to the virus from a nonhuman reservoir. This is known as an “off-the-shelf” virus. Alternatively, it may initially enter the population as a level 2 or 3 virus—not capable of sustained transmission—but evolve the ability to transmit between humans at a sufficiently high rate to persist within a human population. This is known as a “tailor-made” virus. Adapted from reference . doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.OH-0001-2012.f1

Citation: Woolhouse M, Adair K, Brierley L. 2014. RNA Viruses: A Case Study of the Biology of Emerging Infectious Diseases, p 83-97. In Atlas R, Maloy S (ed), One Health. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/microbiolspec.OH-0001-2012
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Image of Figure 2
Figure 2

All currently recognized human-infective RNA viruses categorized with respect to their ability to infect and transmit from humans (levels 2, 3, and 4 of the virus pyramid—see Fig. 1 ) and distinguished in terms of transmission route (green for vector-borne transmission, blue for other routes) and nature of diagnostic evidence (the viruses not in boldface type have only been reported in humans using serology-based methods). doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.OH-0001-2012.f2

Citation: Woolhouse M, Adair K, Brierley L. 2014. RNA Viruses: A Case Study of the Biology of Emerging Infectious Diseases, p 83-97. In Atlas R, Maloy S (ed), One Health. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/microbiolspec.OH-0001-2012
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Image of Figure 3
Figure 3

A schematic representation of the relationship between human viruses and viruses from other mammals. Human viruses are depicted as a subset of mammal viruses, only partially protected by a species barrier. There are frequent minor incursions of zoonotic viruses (small arrows), and many of these may not persist in human populations. Occasionally there may be a much more significant event (large arrow) whereby a mammal virus proves capable of establishing itself as a new human virus, perhaps involving adaptation to infect and transmit from humans. doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.OH-0001-2012.f3

Citation: Woolhouse M, Adair K, Brierley L. 2014. RNA Viruses: A Case Study of the Biology of Emerging Infectious Diseases, p 83-97. In Atlas R, Maloy S (ed), One Health. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/microbiolspec.OH-0001-2012
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References

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