The epidemiology of virus infections has changed dramatically in Europe in recent years due to ecologic, anthropologic and biologic factors such as: i) climate modifications, ii) global exchange of goods and international travel, iii) increased immigration flux from Africa, South America, the Middle East and Asia, iv) reduction of cultivated areas, and v) emergence and re-emergence of human viruses from zoonotic reservoirs. In addition, recent technical advancements have allowed the identification of previously unrecognized autochthonous viral species. Thus, at present, the technical and cultural challenge is to recognize infections caused by viruses not normally circulating in our geographical region (both as imported cases or potential local outbreaks), sustained by recently discovered autochthonous viruses or due to recognized viruses which are no longer widespread in Western Europe due to past vaccination campaigns.
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