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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Arbovirus infection

Arbovirus is a shortened name given to viruses that are transmitted by arthropods, or arthropod-borne viruses .

Some Arboviruses are able to cause emergent disease. Arthropods are able to transmit the virus upon biting allowing the virus to enter the bloodstream which can cause viraemia.

The majority of the Arboviruses are spherical in shape although a few are rod shaped. They are 17-150 nm in diameter and most have an RNA genome (the single exception is African Swine Fever virus, which has a DNA genome). These viruses do not normally infect humans but if they do, they usually cause a mild infection such as a fever or a rash. Others however are epidemic and can cause serious infections such as meningitis and encephalitis that can be fatal.

There are ways of preventing these infections from occurring such as using mosquito repellents and getting rid of the breeding grounds that mosquitoes use. Insecticides can also be used. People can also reduce the risk of getting bitten by the mosquito by wearing protective clothing.

The immune system plays a role in defense against the infections. Arboviruses usually stimulate interferon. Antibodies are made and these can prevent viraemia from occurring. The cell mediated immunity is also important.

Arbovirus infections can be diagnosed by carrying out ELISA and PCR techniques. Complement fixation can also be used.

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