The term arbovirus (arthropod-borne-virus) applies to any virus transmitted to humans and/or other vertebrates by certain types of blood-sucking arthropods (mosquitoes, ticks, sandflies or Culicoides) from an animal reservoir or infected individual.
They include a heterogeneous set of viruses, the vast majority of which are RNA-enveloped viruses belonging to different families and genera. Infection may result in a polymorphic clinical picture related to vascular, hepatic, articular and cerebral tropism of these viruses.
Arboviruses circulate mainly in tropical or subtropical regions with, in recent years, an increase in the description of native cases in temperate regions including Europe and metropolitan France.
There are more than 500 arboviruses of which about 100 are pathogenic to humans and about 40 of them cause identified animal diseases.
The arboviruses involved in human and animal pathology mainly belong to :
- the genus Flavivirus of the Flaviviridae family which includes Yellow Fever, Dengue, Zika, West Nile, Usutu and Tick-borne Encephalitis viruses.
- the genus Alphavirus of the family Togaviridae such as Chikungunya virus
- the genus Phlebovirus of the family Bunyaviridae, consisting of viruses transmitted to man by sandflies, such as Toscana virus in the south of France and around the Mediterranean or to animals, such as Schmallenberg virus.
- the genus Orbivirus of the family Reoviridae as bluetongue virus.