Chapter 60 : There's More To Do

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Microbiologists may entertain a degree of skepticism toward books that have portrayed human society as virtually helpless in the face of viral evolution and opportunism. The 2002 International Union of Microbiological Societies (IUMS) World Congress provided a vigorous corrective to such skepticism. The event was remarkable in providing a plethora of evidence about hitherto-unrecognized viruses in humans and other animals and plants. A relatively unknown member of the genus , Usutu virus (USUV) is closely related, not only to West Nile virus, but also to other important human pathogens, such as those causing Japanese encephalitis, Murray Valley encephalitis, and yellow fever. Weissenbock and his coworkers reported that the organism was highly pathogenic for several different species of birds. Russian investigators described fatal cases of tick-borne encephalitis in their region attributed to a new variant, which also caused a hemorrhagic syndrome, until then not known to be associated with the disease. Also, the trapping and sampling of palearctic birds migrating through Israel during the spring and fall in recent years has shown higher levels of West Nile virus infection than were indicated by previous studies. Two reports highlighted possible underestimates of the capacity of pathogens to thwart host defenses through antigenic changes. Italian researchers described an entire new genus of viruses affecting the grapevine, and there were fears regarding the emergence and recombination of single-stranded DNA geminiviruses, which are slashing yields of crops, such as tomato, cotton, and cassava, in Africa, Asia, and the Mediterranean region.

Citation: Dixon B. 2009. There's More To Do, p 284-287. In Animalcules. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817442.ch60
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1. Weissenböck, H.,, J. Kolodziejek,, A. Url,, H. Lussy,, B. Rebel-Bauder,, and N. Nowotny. 2002. Emergence of Usutu virus, an African mosquito-borne flavivirus of the Japanese encephalitis virus group, in central Europe. Emerg. Infect. Dis. 8: 652 656.

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