World Health Organization gets ready for 'Disease X'

Disease X Is On The WHO Priority Diseases List – What Is Disease X

But how can a disease that hasn't even been identified be considered such a serious threat to public health?

World health experts are warning of the existence of an illness, known only as "Disease X", which has the potential to trigger a serious global epidemic.

Despite not being identified as a specific disease, the pathogen has been classed as extremely unsafe.

The WHO hopes to improve disease surveillance and the capacity of local health systems, which would help to detect an outbreak quickly. It could be triggered by "a pathogen now unknown to cause human disease".

Disease X holds the potential to trigger a pandemic.

Other diseases listed in the report include crimean-congo haemorrhagic fever (cchf), Ebola virus disease, Marburg virus disease, Lassa fever, middle east respiratory syndrome coronavirus (mers-cov), severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). nipah and henipaviral diseases, rift valley fever (rvf) and zika virus.

However, this year a mystery pathogen has been added to the watch list for the first time. An "unknown" beast for which we are not yet prepared, but which we must anticipate.

"Disease X" is the code name for an unknown pathogen that could be created by biological mutation, such as previous deadly epidemics such as Spanish Flu or HIV, the organization said.

"It may seem unusual to be adding an 'X, ' but the point is make sure we prepare and plan flexibly in terms of vaccines and diagnostic tests", Rottingen told the newspaper.

World Health Organization committee scientific adviser John-Arne Rottingen believes the next major outbreak of disease will be something humanity has not seen before.

The organization likewise thought about including various different diseases to its rundown of worldwide dangers, including arenaviral hemorrhagic fevers, Chikungunya, a viral disease transmitted to humans by tainted mosquitoes, and exceptionally pathogenic coronaviral diseases.

The most likely source of Disease X would be a zoonotic transmission, where a disease spreads from an animal to a human. "It is a natural process and it is vital that we become aware of it and prepare ourselves".

As well as the priority list, WHO listed dengue, yellow fever and HIV/AIDS, as being outside the current scope of the list while still continuing to pose major public health issues. Changing ecosystems and human habitats have the potential to see a transfer of animal diseases to humans.

"It is probably the greatest risk".

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