The meeting """"""""Infectious Diseases From Nature: Mechanisms of Viral Emergence and Persistence"""""""" will bring together an international audience of basic virologists and other microbiologists, to focus on a discussion of emerging infectious diseases having non-human origins. We anticipate that this meeting, to be held March 19-21, 2004 in Galveston, Texas will result in a robust interdisciplinary discussion of the unique aspects of those emerging infectious diseases that are moving from non-human sources to humans. The overall goal of the 2.5-day conference, which will be dedicated to a pioneer in the emerging diseases field--Dr. Robert E. Shope, is to develop a heightened understanding of the ecology underlying these diseases, their pathogenicity, the means by which they persist and survive in humans, and how public health systems can cope with them. We anticipate that presentation of the recent progress in unraveling the genetic backgrounds and the means by which these diseases evolve and spread will be useful to individuals in several fields--those currently attempting to control emerging viruses in the general population, as well as scientists who are developing vaccines to prevent or allay the serious manifestations of these diseases. Thus, we believe that bringing investigators together to address recent developments in their specific areas may lead to new perspectives in the realm of infectious diseases. Accordingly, the meeting will seek to identify common themes that will allow a consensus to be developed concerning future directions for research. Four themed sessions are planned: (1) The contribution of quantitative ecological studies to our understanding of these diseases; (2) Pathogenesis of infections in vectors and reservoirs; (3) Mechanisms that enhance persistence of the agents in their vectors and reservoirs; and (4) The means by which agents assure their survival over long periods of time. In these sessions, there will be discussion of rodent-borne viruses, e.g., hantavirus; mosquito-borne viruses, e.g. West Nile; filoviruses (e.g. Ebola); alphaviruses (Rift Valley Fever Viruses) and others, including HIV and SARS.