Arbovirus is a term used to refer to a group of viruses that are transmitted by arthropod vectors. The word arbovirus is an acronym (ARthropod-BOrne virus). Symptoms of arbovirus infection generally occur 3–15 days after exposure to the virus and last 3 or 4 days. The most common clinical features of infection are fever, headache, and malaise, but encephalitis and hemorrhagic fever may also occur. The word tibovirus (TIck-BOrne virus) is sometimes used to describe viruses transmitted by ticks, a superorder within the arthropods. Arboviruses were not known to exist until the rise of modern medicine, with the germ theory and an understanding that viruses were distinct from other microorganisms. The connection between arthropods and disease was not postulated until 1881 when Cuban doctor and scientist Carlos Finlay proposed that yellow fever may be transmitted by mosquitoes instead of human contact, a reality that was verified by Major Walter Reed in 1901. The primary vector, Aedes aegypti, had spread globally from the 15th to the 19th centuries as a result of globalization and the slave trade.This geographic spreading caused dengue fever epidemics throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, and later, in 1906, transmission by the Aedes mosquitoes was confirmed, making yellow fever and dengue fever the first two diseases known to be caused by viruses.Thomas Milton Rivers published the first clear description of a virus as distinct from a bacterium in 1927. The discovery of the West Nile virus came in 1937, and has since been found in Culex populations causing epidemics throughout Africa, the Middle East, and Europe. In 1999, the virus was introduced into the Western Hemisphere, sparking a series of epidemics. During the latter half of the 20th century, Dengue fever reemerged as a global disease, with the virus spreading geographically due to urbanization, population growth, increased international travel, and global warming,and continues to cause at least 50 million infections per year, making Dengue fever the most common and clinically important arboviral disease.

Yellow fever, alongside malaria, was a major obstacle in the construction of the Panama Canal. French supervision of the project in the 1880s was unsuccessful because of these diseases, forcing the abandonment of the project in 1889. During the American effort to construct the canal in the early 1900s, William C. Gorgas, the Chief Sanitary Officer of Havana, was tasked with overseeing the health of the workers. He had past success in eradicating the disease in Florida and Havana by reducing mosquito populations through draining nearby pools of water, cutting grass, applying oil to the edges of ponds and swamps to kill larvae, and capturing adult mosquitoes that remained indoors during the daytime. Joseph Augustin LePrince, the Chief Sanitary Inspector of the Canal Zone, invented the first commercial larvicide, a mixture of carbolic acid, resin, and caustic soda, to be used throughout the Canal Zone. The combined implementation of these sanitation measures led to a dramatic decline in the number of workers dying and the eventual eradication of Yellow fever in the Canal Zone as well as the containment of malaria during the 10-year construction period. Because of the success of these methods at preventing disease, they were adopted and improved upon in other regions of the world. Arboviruses maintain themselves in nature by going through a cycle between a host, an organism that carries the virus, and a vector, an organism that carries and transmits the virus to other organisms. For arboviruses, vectors are commonly mosquitoes, ticks, sandflies and other arthropods that consume the blood of vertebrates for nutritious or developmental purposes. Vertebrates which have their blood consumed act as the hosts, with each vector generally having an affinity for the blood of specific species, making those species the hosts. Transmission between the vector and the host occurs when the vector feeds on the blood of the vertebrate, wherein the virus that has established an infection in the salivary glands of the vector comes into contact with the host's blood. While the virus is inside the host, it undergoes a process called amplification, where the virus replicates at sufficient levels to induce viremia, a condition in which there are large numbers of viruses present in the blood. The abundance of viruses in the host's blood allows the host to transmit the virus to other organisms if its blood is consumed by them. When uninfected vectors become infected from feeding, they are then capable of transmitting the virus to uninfected hosts, resuming amplification of virus populations. If viremia is not achieved in a vertebrate, the species can be called a dead-end host, as the virus cannot be transmitted back to the vector. An example of this vector-host relationship can be observed in the transmission of the West Nile virus. Female mosquitoes of the genus Culex prefer to consume the blood of passerine birds, making them the hosts of the virus. When these birds are infected, the virus amplifies, potentially infecting multiple mosquitoes that feed on its blood. These infected mosquitoes may go on to further transmit the virus to more birds. If the mosquito is unable to find its preferred food source, it will choose another. Human blood is sometimes consumed, but since the West Nile virus does not replicate that well in mammals, humans are considered a dead-end host. Person-to-person transmission of arboviruses is not common, but can occur. Blood transfusions, organ transplantation, and the use of blood products can transmit arboviruses if the virus is present in the donor's blood or organs. Because of this, blood and organs are often screened for viruses before being administered. Rarely, vertical transmission, or mother-to-child transmission, has been observed in infected pregnant and breastfeeding women.Exposure to used needles may also transmit arboviruses if they have been used by an infected person or animal. This puts intravenous drug users and healthcare workers at risk for infection in regions where the arbovirus may be spreading in human populations. In the past, arboviruses were organized into one of four groups: A, B, C, and D. Group A denoted members of the genus Alphavirus, Group B were members of the genus Flavivirus, and Group C remains as the Group C serogroup of the genus Orthobunyavirus. Group D was renamed in the mid-1950s to the Guama group and is currently the Guama serogroup in the genus Orthobunyavirus. This renaming of the group was because the number of groups would eventually exceed the length of the alphabet. Since then, the organization of arboviruses into these groups has fallen out of usage as the standard biological classification system has become more preferred for classifying viruses. With the exception of the African swine fever virus, which belongs to the Asfarviridae family of viruses, all major clinically important arboviruses belong to one of the following four families: The incubation period - the time between when infection occurs and when symptoms appear - varies from virus to virus, but is usually limited between 2 and 15 days for arboviruses. The majority of infections, however, are asymptomatic. Among cases in which symptoms do appear, symptoms tend to be non-specific, resembling a flu-like illness, and are not indicative of a specific causative agent. These symptoms include fever, headache, malaise, rash and fatigue. Rarely, vomiting and hemorrhagic fever may occur. The central nervous system can also be affected by infection, as encephalitis and meningitis are sometimes observed.Prognosis is good for most people, but is poor in those who develop severe symptoms, with up to a 20% mortality rate in this population depending on the virus. The very young, elderly, pregnant women, and people with immune deficiencies are more likely to develop severe symptoms.

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