Fact sheets

In this section, you can find fact sheets about Institut Pasteur research topics.


  • Amoebiasis A
  • Aspergillosis A
  • Chikungunya C
  • Dengue D
  • Leptospirosis L
  • Listeriosis L
  • Malaria M
  • Sanfilippo syndrome S
  • Staphylococci S
  • Viral hepatitis V
  • Whooping cough C
  • Yellow fever Y


Amoebiasis is the third deadliest parasitic disease in the world. Around 10% of the world’s population is thought to be infected by parasitic amebae from the Entamoeba genus, the most pathogenic being Entamoeba histolytica, the agent of amoebiasis . The large majority of infected persons often present no symptoms, but in some cases infection lead to clinical complications including dysentery and liver abscesses.


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Aspergillosis is an umbrella term for a series of infections caused by the Aspergillus fungus. The spores of this fungus are in the air around us and we are constantly breathing them in. While they are totally harmless for most people, they can cause various forms of mycosis. The species Aspergillus fumigatus is responsible for more than 80% of human aspergillosis cases.

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The chikungunya virus, transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes, causes severe joint pain in affected patients. The disease is mainly endemic in South Asia and Africa. In 2005, a major chikungunya epidemic struck the islands in the Indian Ocean, particularly Reunion Island, with hundreds of thousands of reported cases. In 2007, the disease arrived in Europe for the first time, and the mosquito vector Aedes albopictus is now established on the continent. The first indigenous cases in France were reported in 2010. Existing treatment options are purely symptomatic.


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Dengue, also known as dengue fever, is a viral disease transmitted to humans by mosquitoes of the genus Aedes. The incidence of dengue is currently increasing dramatically, and it is now one of the diseases said to be re-emerging. WHO estimates the annual number of cases to be 50 million, including 500,000 cases of dengue hemorrhagic fever, which has a case fatality rate of over 20%. Although initially seen only in the world's tropical and sub-tropical regions, dengue has now reached Europe, where the first indigenous cases were reported in France mainland in 2010.

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Thirty years after Institut Pasteur scientists discovered the HIV-1 virus (a discovery that was recognized by the 2008 Nobel Prize in Medicine), AIDS is still a major public health problem that particularly affects the most deprived regions and populations. 34 million people live with HIV/AIDS worldwide, and there are 6,300 new cases in France each year.


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Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease found throughout the world. Its main reservoirs are rodents, particularly rats, which excrete the bacterium in their urine. In humans the disease may lead to kidney failure, and even death in 5 to 20% of cases.


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Listeriosis is a severe foodborne infection caused by the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes. It causes septicemia and central nervous system infections. In pregnant women, it can cause miscarriage, premature delivery or neonatal infection. This is a relatively rare disease in France, with an incidence of around 5 cases per million inhabitants, but is nevertheless fatal in 20 to 30% of cases occurring outside pregnancy.


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Malaria is a disease caused by parasites of the Plasmodium genus. According to WHO, malaria kills more than half a million victims worldwide every year. About 40% of the world's population is exposed to this disease, and 250 million clinical cases are reported annually. Scaling up of malaria control has reduced the burden of the disease in many countries. However progress is threatened by the development of parasitic resistance to multiple antimalarial molecules, and increasing levels of insecticide resistance in mosquitoes. No vaccine is currently available.

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Sanfilippo syndrome

Sanfilippo syndrome is a rare and intractable neurodegenerative disorder of genetic origin. The first symptoms occur during infancy and lead to premature death in early adulthood. Affected children present mental retardation and physical disabilities that worsen as the disease progresses.

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Staphylococci bacteria are involved in a variety of diseases and are often responsible for hospital-acquired infections. They naturally live in the skin flora and mucosa of humans and animals. They can also be found in the environment (in water, soil, air, food, and other objects). Treating infection is difficult because many strains – between 20 and 50%, according to hospital data – show multiple resistance to antibiotics.

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Viral hepatitis

Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver caused by toxic substances or – in the majority of cases – by viruses. To date, five viruses have been identified that target the liver and cause inflammatory infection. These viruses are referred to by the letters A, B, C, D and E, and vary according to their transmission mode (fecal-oral for A and E, parenteral for B and C) and their aggressive profile.

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Whooping cough

Until recently, whooping cough was erroneously viewed as a childhood illness. It can, however, be serious for people of all ages. It is particularly dangerous for infants and also for elderly and pregnant women.


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Yellow fever

Yellow fever is a viral disease that was first described in the mid-sixteenth century in Yucatan, Mexico. It is caused by the amaril virus, an arbovirus (a virus transmitted by an insect vector) isolated in 1927, simultaneously in Ghana and at the Institut Pasteur in Dakar, Senegal. The disease is currently endemic in Africa and has reemerged in South America. Some serious forms can be fatal. However, there is a safe, effective vaccine. A booster is recommended every ten years.


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Updated on 12/02/2014

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