Disease X can kill as many as 33 million people in just 200 days

  • The World Health Organisation (WHO) in its 2018 annual review of the Blueprint priority diseases, has included ‘Disease X’, ninth in the list of Global Potential Epidemics.
  • The WHO has warned that the next global flu epidemic could begin tomorrow and kill as many as 33 million people in just 200 days. 
  • As per WHO scientists, unlike Ebola, SARS and Zika pathogens, it is not known what causes Disease X or how it may be treated.  
  • Purpose of inclusion: Adding in the global threat list  means the acknowledgement of the fact that the next pandemic could be started by an illness that has not caused problems before. It pull push countries and researchers to work even harder to create protections against unknown epidemics. 
  • How it can arise: It could also arise from the natural world, like Spanish Flu and HIV, as animals and humans come into ever-increasing contact. Modern travel and trade make it much more likely they will spread.  As per the report, Disease X could even be man-made.
  • The development and use of chemical and biological weapons are becoming common now. In Syria’s civil war chemical bombs have been used against civilians. Nerve agent VX was was believed to be used in the assassination of North Korean Kim Jong-Un’s half-brother last year.     
  • About the list: Actually each year the  WHO convenes a high-level meeting of senior scientists to list diseases that pose a serious threat to world that can spark a major international public health emergency. In previous years the list has been confined to known killers such as Lassa fever, which is currently sweeping Nigeria, and Ebola, which killed more than 11,000 people in an epidemic in West Africa between 2013 and 2016.    

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