Medical Definition of Arbovirus

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Arbovirus: A class of viruses transmitted to humans by arthropods such as mosquitoes and ticks. The first two letters of the words arthropod' and borne, make up the 'arbo' that now designates this group of viruses as arthropod-borne.

The name arbovirus was coined in part by Dr. William C. Reeves (1916-2004) to connote the class of viruses carried by insects and responsible for diseases like malaria, dengue fever, encephalitis and West Nile.

The arboviruses were originally called 'arborviruses' but the spelling was changed, dropping the second 'r' because of the potential of mis-identification with trees.

For more information about the arboviruses, see Arboviral encephalitis.

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Reviewed on 10/30/2018

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