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Nat Rev Microbiol. 2011 Jun 13;9(7):532-41. doi: 10.1038/nrmicro2595.

Fever from the forest: prospects for the continued emergence of sylvatic dengue virus and its impact on public health.

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Department of Pathology, Center for Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Disease, Institute for Human Infection and Immunity, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, Texas 77555, USA.


The four dengue virus (DENV) serotypes that circulate among humans emerged independently from ancestral sylvatic progenitors that were present in non-human primates, following the establishment of human populations that were large and dense enough to support continuous inter-human transmission by mosquitoes. This ancestral sylvatic-DENV transmission cycle still exists and is maintained in non-human primates and Aedes mosquitoes in the forests of Southeast Asia and West Africa. Here, we provide an overview of the ecology and molecular evolution of sylvatic DENV and its potential for adaptation to human transmission. We also emphasize how the study of sylvatic DENV will improve our ability to understand, predict and, ideally, avert further DENV emergence.

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