Prepare for Disease X World Health Organisation Warns

Prepare for Disease X World Health Organisation Warns

But the mystery threat has not been placed on the list to scare the public.

This enigmatic name "represents the knowledge that a serious worldwide epidemic could be caused by a pathogen now unknown to cause human disease", according to the WHO.

Disease X isn't a recently recognized killer pathogen.

WHO's Research and Development (R&D) Blueprint list tries to distinguish diseases that represent a general health hazard due to their potential for starting a plague and for which there are no, or deficient, countermeasures. Experts believe that this unknown pathogen may go unnoticed until it is too late when it has already spread to all nooks of the globe, taking the world by surprise.

This was the third time an advisory group of specialists in infections and bacteria was assembled to think about potential plagues and pandemics.

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The disease has joined "List of Blueprint priority diseases", of World Health Organization which includes the Ebola virus, Respiratory Syndrome (SARS, ) Zika virus and Rift Valley fever (RVF) after an annual review carried out from February 6-7 when there was an "urgent need" for accelerated research and development for the maladies.

It's the first time that the organization puts an entry of unknown disease in its Blueprint to arouse global awareness of health experts and communities. According to a statement explaining the R&D Blueprint, "Disease X represents the knowledge that a serious worldwide epidemic could be caused by a pathogen now unknown to cause human disease".

The rest of the deceases which are listed in this category are known fatal pandemics as Ebola, Lassa Fever, CCHF hemorrhagic fever, Nipah / Henipaviral, MESS, SARS and Zika. "It may seem unusual to add an "X", but it's about making sure that we flexibly prepare and plan diagnostic tests and systems that will allow us to create countermeasures as quickly as possible ".

Speaking to The Telegraph, scientific adviser to the World Health Organization and chief executive of the Research Council of Norway, John-Arne Rottingen, said that the next big outbreak is likely to be something not seen before. Marion Koopmans, WHO adviser, said, "The intensity of animal and human contact is becoming much greater as the world develops". Changing ecosystems and human habitats have the potential to see a transfer of animal diseases to humans. "It is a natural process and it is vital that we become aware of it and prepare ourselves".

Whatever the case may be, the WHO hopes its list will spur governments across the globe to invest more into strengthening local health systems.

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