Monday, 24 September, 2018


World health experts warn against 'Disease x'

What is Disease X Disease X is a mystery pathogen that has been added to the WHO’s blueprint for the first time
Patty Aguilar | 12 March, 2018, 07:47

John-Arne Rottingen of the Research Council of Norway tells the Telegraph that "history tells us that it is likely the next big outbreak will be something we have not seen before".

Experts in World Health Organization has identified "Disease X" as a global threat capable of killing millions in times of an outbreak.

It's a so-called "known unknown" that the World Health Organization says we need to be prepared for, which is why the mystery malady is now on the agency's R&D Blueprint of priority diseases.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has revealed details about "Disease X" in its second annual review of priority diseases. The WHO has added this new illness dubbed as "Disease X" to the list of potential epidemics that could devastate the world with a wide outbreak.

Scientists warn that an unknown "Disease X" poses a major health risk and could cause a "serious worldwide epidemic" in the future.

A number of additional diseases were discussed and considered for inclusion in the priority list, including: Arenaviral hemorrhagic fevers other than Lassa Fever; Chikungunya; highly pathogenic coronaviral diseases other than MERS and SARS; emergent non-polio enteroviruses (including EV71, D68); Severe Fever with Thrombocytopenia Syndrome (SFTS); Monkeypox and Leptospirosis.

The organization further says, though no individual has been identified as affected by Disease X, man-made deceases are hard to be controlled hence the public should be prepared for worse. "It may seem odd to be adding an "X" but the point is to make sure we prepare and plan flexibly in terms of vaccines and diagnostic tests". There are also fears that Disease X could spread in light of a natural disaster or accident.

More likely, said Rottingen, Disease X could be sparked by a zoonotic disease - one that jumps from animals to humans - and then spreads to become an epidemic or pandemic in the same way H1N1 swine flu virus did in 2009. Ebola is also a zoonosis.

"It is probably the greatest risk".

The list is created to focus minds and spur research and development of new tests, vaccines and treatments.

The WHO hopes to improve disease surveillance and the capacity of local health systems, which would help to detect an outbreak quickly.

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