New viruses and emerging viruses appear at an accelerating rate due to globalization and environmental changes. As we share the eco-system with other organisms zoonotic diseases can be transmitted from one host to another. For instance, mosquitoes serve as vectors for the transmission of many different viruses, including dengue virus, yellow fever virus, West Nile virus and zika virus to humans. Moreover, bats may transmit rabies virus, ticks can act as both the vector and reservoir for tick-borne encephalitis virus, and wild birds serve as the reservoir for avian influenza virus. The Environmental Virology group uses metagenomic analyses to investigate the viral population diversity in various species that act as vectors and reservoirs for zoonotic diseases and to detect viruses that have not previously been reported in Switzerland.
Cover Illustration: Electronmicrograph of rhabdovirus particles