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Welcome from the coordinator

Zoonoses that are defined as diseases naturally transmitted between humans and wild-life or domestic animals represent a majority of emerging infectious diseases. Some of the conditions favoring emergence include human behavior, environmental modifications, increased populations of reservoirs or vectors.

These diseases raise an increasing and very significant threat to public health and a burden for national economies which is generally greatest in developing countries. In the context of global warming, the threat is exacerbated with regard to vector borne diseases for which vectors are largely influenced by environmental changes such as rainfalls and temperatures rises. Many vector borne diseases are expected to increase in incidence over the next decade.
The 1999 introduction and rapid spread of west Nile virus across the US and Canada illustrates our vulnerability to arboviruses. The geographical distribution of several arboviruses has expanded over recent years: West Nile outbreaks have already occurred in Europe and Rift Valley fever which was mainly confined to sub-Saharian Africa, was reported outside of the African continent for the first time in 2000 causing two simultaneous outbreaks in Yemen and Saudi Arabia. Also, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever which is transmitted by ticks, is endemic in many places in the world, Africa, Asia, Russia, Europe.

Concerned by the recent spread of zoonotic arthropod borne diseases, the Commission of the European Union launched, last year, a call for « Emerging vector borne diseases, in particular West Nile, Rift Valley fever and Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever (Call FP7-KBBE-1-3-06). Arbo-zoonet is created to respond to this concern. It aims at promoting an International Network for Capacity Building for the control of these emerging viral vector borne zoonotic diseases. Specifically, the network will address integrated control measures including vector control, vaccination programme and therapy strategies, diagnostic tools and surveillance, public awareness and capacity building in endemic regions.

I would like to acknowledge the support of the EU commission and the precious help of our scientific officer, Dr I. Minguez-Tudela

On behalf of the Steering Committee, I wish that the initiatives which will be developed through Arbo-zoonet will create common knowledge on these diseases by exchanging and sharing information and will contribute to address these challenges cooperatively and successfully.

Michèle Bouloy