Emerging Infectious Diseases
Volume 24, Number 5—May 2018
History of Mosquitoborne Diseases in the United States and Implications for New Pathogens PDF Version [PDF – 1.32 MB – 6 pages]
J. Moreno-Madriñán and M. Turell
The introduction and spread of West Nile virus and the recent introduction of chikungunya and Zika viruses into the Americas have raised concern about the potential for various tropical pathogens to become established in North America. A historical analysis of yellow fever and malaria incidences in the United States suggests that it is not merely a temperate climate that keeps these pathogens from becoming established. Instead, socioeconomic changes are the most likely explanation for why these pathogens essentially disappeared from the United States yet remain a problem in tropical areas. In contrast to these anthroponotic pathogens that require humans in their transmission cycle, zoonotic pathogens are only slightly affected by socioeconomic factors, which is why West Nile virus became established in North America. In light of increasing globalization, we need to be concerned about the introduction of pathogens such as Rift Valley fever, Japanese encephalitis, and Venezuelan equine encephalitis viruses.