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Emerg Infect Dis. 2001;7(3 Suppl):497-504.

Emerging viral diseases of Southeast Asia and the Western Pacific.

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University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia.


Over the past 6 years, a number of zoonotic and vectorborne viral diseases have emerged in Southeast Asia and the Western Pacific. Vectorborne disease agents discussed in this article include Japanese encephalitis, Barmah Forest, Ross River, and Chikungunya viruses. However, most emerging viruses have been zoonotic, with fruit bats, including flying fox species as the probable wildlife hosts, and these will be discussed as well. The first of these disease agents to emerge was Hendra virus, formerly called equine morbillivirus. This was followed by outbreaks caused by a rabies-related virus, Australian bat lyssavirus, and a virus associated with porcine stillbirths and malformations, Menangle virus. Nipah virus caused an outbreak of fatal pneumonia in pigs and encephalitis in humans in the Malay Peninsula. Most recently, Tioman virus has been isolated from flying foxes, but it has not yet been associated with animal or human disease. Of nonzoonotic viruses, the most important regionally have been enterovirus 71 and HIV.

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