Disease X
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Disease X and its implications: Experts warn of imminent threat

Health experts and scientists worldwide have sounded the alarm, expressing serious concerns regarding the potential emergence of a new pandemic, termed “Disease X”.

Recent discussions and warnings from leading figures in the UK and global health organisations highlight the grim possibility that Disease X might be the catalyst for a future pandemic, surpassing the devastating impacts of the recent COVID-19 outbreak.

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Disease X can cause a severe international epidemic

The term “Disease X” was coined by the World Health Organization in 2017, representing an unidentified pathogen capable of causing a severe international epidemic.

The fears surrounding Disease X have gained attention amid recent events, including the Nipah virus outbreak in India, which led to localised lockdowns.

Although authorities claim control, the fatality rate associated with Nipah, estimated between 40% to 75%, adds to the global health concerns.

Experts emphasise the unpredictability of Disease X, citing a potential mortality rate comparable to the catastrophic 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic, which claimed the lives of over 50 million individuals. They warn that the threat is not a matter of “if” but “when”.

More scientific research, surveillance, public education, and equitable healthcare systems needed

Factors contributing to the heightened concern include increased global population density, expanded and easier travel, climate change impacting the spread of infectious diseases, and the encroachment upon natural wildlife habitats, blurring the lines between human and animal-borne pathogens.

To combat and prepare for the potential emergence of Disease X, experts stress the necessity of increased investment in scientific research, surveillance and sequencing of viruses, public education and awareness, and the development of more equitable healthcare systems.

While the previous experience with COVID-19 provided a learning curve, challenges remain, including the prevalence of anti-science movements and vaccine hesitancy, hindering preparedness efforts for potential future outbreaks.

The overarching message from health experts is clear: while we may have some insights from past pandemics, the evolving nature of viruses and the lack of preparedness are causes for concern.

The situation remains fluid, and authorities are working diligently to monitor and preemptively tackle any emerging threats. Stay tuned for further updates as the global community grapples with the prospect of Disease X.

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