- WHO has warned against a newly-identified pathogen sparking a deadly worldwide epidemic.
- Disease X can be caused by "a pathogen currently unknown to cause human disease," as per a WHO report.
- WHO released the new Blueprint list of diseases where Disease X is included as the ninth global threat.
- Other diseases containing pandemic potential are Zika, Ebola, SARS, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever and Rift Valley fever.
Forget Zika, Ebola and Lassa fever, because the world's another worst nightmare may be here. The experts at World Health Organization (WHO) have recently warned about newfound pathogens that may have the ability to trigger a worldwide epidemic.
Following the second annual review of the Blueprint list at its Geneva headquarters, WHO experts have included Disease X, caused by such a newfound pathogen, on their list. They have also revealed some aspects of the mysterious disease.
What is Disease X?
"Disease X represents the knowledge that a serious international epidemic could be caused by a pathogen currently unknown," the organization said.
Disease X holds the potential to trigger a pandemic. It could be triggered by "a pathogen currently unknown to cause human disease." The disease could be sparked by a simple biological mutation, terror attack or by accident.
The intention behind including the disease in the Blueprint list is not to scare people. In fact, WHO is trying to acknowledge that it is trying to build the required protections to tackle all kind of threats.
According to The Telegraph, Disease X can turn into a pandemic if the new pathogen is used as a bio-weapon in a state like Syria by terrorists.
A biological weapon is basically the deliberate utilization of contagious disease as a weapon. During the Cold War, the US and the USSR explored the development of bio-weapons and perhaps they still hold live cultures of deadly pathogens like the smallpox virus in highly secretive labs.
Besides Disease X, the WHO list includes other diseases with pandemic potential like Zika, Ebola, SARS, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever and Rift Valley fever. "These diseases pose major public health risks, and further research and development is needed, including surveillance and diagnostics," WHO said in a statement.
WHO adviser Marion Koopmans told The Telegraph, "The intensity of animal and human contact is becoming much greater as the world develops. This makes it more likely new diseases will emerge, but also modern travel and trade make it much more likely they will spread."