Medicine

Scientists put on alert for deadly new pathogen - 'Disease X'

Scientists put on alert for deadly new pathogen - 'Disease X'

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.

The disease could come about a number of ways, including as a result of biological warfare or as the result of the sudden spread of a virus similar to the "Spanish flu" which affected large parts of the world and is thought to have killed at least 40 million people in 1918-1919.

"Disease X represents the knowledge that a serious worldwide epidemic could be caused by a pathogen now unknown to cause human disease", World Health Organization said on its website.

The disease joined a rundown that incorporates the Ebola virus, Respiratory Syndrome (SARS, ) Zika virus and Rift Valley fever (RVF), after a yearly survey by WHO.

By including this mystery killer on its "List of Blueprint priority diseases", along with eight better-known diseases such as MERS and Marburg Virus, WHO was aiming to acknowledge that infectious diseases are unpredictable.

Major forest fire in TN: Over 20 students trapped, rescue operations underway
The Indian Air Force (IAF) has been sent to Kurangani hills in Top Station near Kurangani to rescue the trapped students. Sitharaman also said that apart from government agencies, individuals are also coming out to help the students.

The idea behind the fact that the Disease X is included on the list is not meant to frighten individuals, yet to goad public health authorities into ensuring that they are set up for all kinds of dangers, not only the anticipated ones. "This makes it more likely new diseases will emerge, but also modern travel and trade make it much more likely they will spread".

"The intensity of animal and human contact is becoming much greater as the world develops", WHO adviser Marion Koopmans told The Telegraph.

When an epidemics happens, it doesn't announce itself first, it's not going to just show that it is here. And the creation past year in Canada of horsepox - a close relative of the deadly smallpox virus - has heightened fears that Disease X could come out of a renegade laboratory. It was the first time that Disease X made the list. The use of chemical weapons is on the rise now, and sometimes, an act of terror may introduce the unknown pathogen to the humankind.

In 2017, North Korea has reportedly used a VX nerve agent to assassinate Kim Jong-un's half-brother in a Malaysian airport.


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