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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013 Aug 20;110(34):13961-4. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1307243110. Epub 2013 Aug 5.

Search strategy has influenced the discovery rate of human viruses.

Author information

1
Division of Vector-Borne Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Fort Collins, CO 80521, USA. viruslist@cdc.gov

Abstract

A widely held concern is that the pace of infectious disease emergence has been increasing. We have analyzed the rate of discovery of pathogenic viruses, the preeminent source of newly discovered causes of human disease, from 1897 through 2010. The rate was highest during 1950-1969, after which it moderated. This general picture masks two distinct trends: for arthropod-borne viruses, which comprised 39% of pathogenic viruses, the discovery rate peaked at three per year during 1960-1969, but subsequently fell nearly to zero by 1980; however, the rate of discovery of nonarboviruses remained stable at about two per year from 1950 through 2010. The period of highest arbovirus discovery coincided with a comprehensive program supported by The Rockefeller Foundation of isolating viruses from humans, animals, and arthropod vectors at field stations in Latin America, Africa, and India. The productivity of this strategy illustrates the importance of location, approach, long-term commitment, and sponsorship in the discovery of emerging pathogens.

KEYWORDS:

emerging diseases; zoonoses

PMID:
23918354
PMCID:
PMC3752202
DOI:
10.1073/pnas.1307243110
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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