Caister Academic Press

Emerging Viral Infections

Michelle M. Becker, Everett Clinton Smith and Mark R. Denison
from: Virus Evolution: Current Research and Future Directions (Edited by: Scott C. Weaver, Mark Denison, Marilyn Roossinck and Marco Vignuzzi). Caister Academic Press, U.K. (2016) Pages: 329-366.


Viruses are small strands of nucleic acid housed within a shell of protein and sometimes lipid. For such minute particles, they capable of causing devastating effects on the health of humans and other inhabitants of this planet. Due to their large population sizes and short replication cycles, viruses evolve at an accelerated pace compared to larger organisms with longer life spans. This constant state of change allows them to continually sample sequence space and generate diverse populations containing viruses capable of transitioning into and adapting to a new host. When this happens, this virus may emerge in a naïve population and cause disease, in which case, we call the virus and the resultant disease emerging. Emerging infectious diseases (EIDs) appear to be increasing, which is likely the result of human intrusions into ecological niches, changes in vector distribution, altered climate patterns and other factors. In this chapter, we will highlight select animal and plant emergent viruses and review characteristics that have allowed these viruses to utilize the opportunities created by the changes listed above. We start with two viruses, Ebola and coronaviruses, that are currently epidemic. We also examine chikungunya, a virus with an expanding vector host and host range, and finish with parvoviruses and coffee ringspot virus, pathogens of domestic animals and an economically important crop, respectively read more ...
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