World Health Organisation warns of mystery killer Disease X

Kenny Tucker
March 12, 2018

By placing this mystery illness on the "List of Blueprint priority diseases", alongside conditions such as MERS and the Marburg Virus, WHO acknowledges that infectious diseases can happen anytime, and are highly unpredictable.

It's a contagion so deadly and mysterious, we know nothing about it - except that it could be the next global epidemic, according to experts at the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The best way of thinking about it is that "Disease X" is a placeholder for a contagious hazard we haven't encountered yet, but which is virtually certain. "These diseases pose major public health risks, and further research and development is needed, including surveillance and diagnostics", said the WHO in a statement.

It was the first time that Disease X made the list.

Killing Disease X before it can spread is particularly key in the modern world where travel and trade make it more likely to move around the globe than pandemics of the past.

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John-Arne Rottingen, chief executive of the Research Council of Norway and adviser to the World Health Organization, told the Telegraph: 'History tells us that it is likely the next big outbreak will be something we have not seen before'.

Disease X "presents the knowledge" that a serious worldwide epidemic could be caused "by a pathogen now unknown to cause human disease", an excerpt of the review said.

"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". Ebola, salmonella, and HIV are believed to be zoonoses. "It is vital that we are aware and prepare".

Whatever the case may be, the WHO hopes its list will spur governments across the globe to invest more into strengthening local health systems. The New York Post suggests that the disease could be used as a weapon or a tool for countries and terrorist organisations that develop biological weapons. This disease could also be hatched by big events like a terrorist act, or smaller incidences like auto accidents.

In particular, these experts recognized that existing drugs and vaccines need further improvement for several of the diseases considered but not included in the priority list. 'Not just the predictable diseases, ' said the World Health Organization during the second annual review on February 7, 2018.

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