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Arthropod-Borne (Arbo) Viral Diseases

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Arthropod-Borne (Arbo) Viral Diseases

The arthropod-borne viruses, or arboviruses, are a group of infectious agents that are transmitted by blood-sucking arthropods from one vertebrate host to another. They can multiply in the tissues of the arthropod without evidence of disease or damage. The vector acquires a lifelong infection through the ingestion of blood from a viremic vertebrate. All arboviruses have an RNA genome, and most have a lipid-containing envelope and consequently are inactivated by ether or sodium deoxycholate.


FIGURE Alphavirus transmission. Virus abbreviations: Chik, chickungunya; RR, Ross River; May, Mayaro; ONN, O\'nyong-nyong; SIN, Sindbis; EEE, eastern equine encephalitis; VEE, Venezuelan equine encephalitis.



Rubella (German measles) is a common mild disease characterized by a rash. It affects children and adolescents worldwide and can also affect young adults. When rubella virus infects susceptible women early in pregnancy, it may be transmitted to the fetus and may cause birth defects. Therefore, accurate diagnosis is critical in pregnancy. The rubella virus is a member of the genus Rubivirus in the family Togaviridae.


FIGURE. Clinical findings, virus shedding, and serologic response

in postnatally acquired rubella.


Virions are formed in perinuclear regions of the cytoplasm in association with Golgi or smooth membranes (Figure 6). Virions appear within cytoplasmic vacuoles and appear to exit the cell as vacuoles fuse with the plasma membrane. Unlike alphaviruses, no evidence of budding has been seen in flavivirus-infected cells, and the mechanisms of virion assembly and release remain obscure.

FIGURE 6. Morphogenesis of flaviviruses


Human infection with both mosquito-borne and tick-borne flaviviruses is initiated by deposition of virus through the skin via the saliva of an infected arthropod (Fig 7).

Figure 7. Pathogenesis of flaviviruses.


Bunyaviridae is a family of arthropod-borne or rodent-borne, spherical, enveloped RNA viruses. Bunyaviruses are responsible for a number of febrile diseases in humans and other vertebrates. They have either a rodent host or an arthropod vector and a vertebrate host.


FIGURE 3. Pathogenesis of bunyavirus infections. Humans are dead-end hosts of most bunyaviruses; however, the blood of Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever patients may be highly infectious.