Chikungunya Fever: An Old Disease Re-Emerges

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The new era of globalization and environmental change has witnessed the arrival of many new and re-emerging diseases which create new challenges for policy makers and researchers working on infectious diseases. Massive urbanization has facilitated the spread of contagious mosquito-borne diseases in human populations due to faster travel over greater distances and worldwide trade.

Although more affluent countries are better-equipped to manage the spread and treatment of infectious diseases, it has become increasingly clear that they still face major challenges when dealing with diseases whose boundaries have been expanding due to warmer and wetter weather. A good example of such an abrupt increase in the incidence of disease are infections caused by arboviruses, whose expansion to new geographic areas has been facilitated by the establishment of new vectors. The Chikungunya outbreaks in late 2005 represent a fine example of how a virus originally from Africa and mosquitoes originally from Asia can meet in the Indian Ocean and contribute to re-emergence of a disease, and then spread to other parts of the world.

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