Nine Deadly Infections That Could Spark A Deadly Pandemic.
The WHO has listed nine pathogens they believe are the most ‘urgent’ threat to humanity. Concerned scientists are urgently researching them, but have excluded one key threat
Covid-19 may no longer be a threat but World Health Organisation bosses are keeping close tabs on infections that pose a risk of sparking another pandemic.
The WHO has listed nine pathogens they believe are the most ‘urgent’ threat to humanity.
Concerned scientists are urgently researching them, but have excluded one key threat.
Despite the biggest ever outbreak currently sweeping the world, bird flu is not listed.
Avian influenza is not know to transmit easily between humans currently, mutations to the virus that makes mammal-to-mammal transmission easier could change that, some experts fear.
British scientists have also modelled worst-case scenarios under which the virus kills up to one in 20 people it infects, if it ever manages to take off in humans.
Officials said the figure was for ‘planning purposes’ and not a prediction.
The list of ‘priority diseases’ on the WHO’s website states: “This is not an exhaustive list, nor does it indicate the most likely causes of the next epidemic.
“WHO reviews and updates this list as needs arise, and methodologies change.”
Professor Francois Balloux, an infectious disease expert based at University College London, told MailOnline : “I don’t know why they chose to exclude flu and bird flu from the list.
“However we look at it, the chance that the next pandemic will be caused by a lineage of influenza is high.”
He added: “One possibility may be that they wanted to draw attention to some less well-known zoonotic threats, for which preparedness should be stepped up, whereas for flu contingency plans are in place.
“The problem with that explanation is that it doesn’t fit with SARS-CoV-2 being on the list.”
Here is the full list of the nine infections that could cause the next pandemic.
Covid shut down the world in 2020, with lockdowns happening across the globe.
The key symptoms of the infection include breathlessness, a dry cough and a fever, as well as loss of taste or smell.
The virus attacks the lungs and as the body fights back to kill the infection, experts say it can destroy lung tissue and cause inflammation.
This can cause pneumonia, as well as limiting oxygen supply to the blood which causes a variety of life-threatening issues.
The virus is now considered an ‘established and ongoing health issue’, after the WHO downgraded the threat level earlier this month.
Lassa fever is a rodent-borne disease thought to cause no symptoms in 80 per cent of patients and kill just one per cent of those it infects.
People usually become infected with Lassa fever after exposure to food or household items contaminated with urine or faeces of infected rats.
Last year, a person in Bedfordshire died after catching the disease.
The unidentified individual was the third member of a family who recently returned to the UK from West Africa to become infected with the virus.
A total of 11 cases of Lassa fever have ever been detected in the UK, and is instead endemic in Nigeria, as well as Liberia and Guinea.
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