Every year, researchers and scientists in the field of human health prepare a list of diseases that have the most probability of breaking out and escalating into a worldwide pandemic. 2018 was no different. The list prepared by the doctors includes known illnesses such as the Zika viruses, SARS, and the widely feared Ebola. The rest of the diseases on this year’s list include Marburg virus disease, Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus, Lassa fever, Nipah and henipaviral diseases, Rift Valley Fever, and Acute Respiratory Syndrome. Other diseases that have proven difficult to handle in the past include the likes of tuberculosis, polio, rickets, leprosy, Diphtheria, and other outbreaks. However, for the year 2018, the World Health Organization (WHO) decided to include a strange disease in the list. The strange and unknown disease is known as “Disease X.” Predictably, a lot of people were baffled by what it is and its causes.
Even the WHO experts have no idea what disease X and when it will hit. The mysterious name “X” was chosen to represent an unknown value, not unlike unknowns in mathematics. The name was chosen to show that there is a pandemic that will hit and it will devastate the human race. As it stands, the experts at WHO all agree that the world is under-equipped to handle what comes next in the form of Disease X. If history is anything to go by, then the next big outbreak of a disease will be something that is unknown to man, and that man has no preparation for. A good example is a seemingly innocuous whooping cough which infected around 16 million people in the world in 2008. Out of the 16 million, around 195,000 children lost their lives. More recently, in 2016, approximately 10.4 million people contracted tuberculosis, and more than 1.7 million people died.
Theories of Disease X's Cause
While the cause of disease X is unknown, there are plenty of theories that have been put forth. In the past, pandemics sprang from the unlikeliest of sources. HIV and the Spanish flu sprang up from the natural world. For example, human and animal contact is on the rise. This contact may be a source of a new strain of disease or a new one that will spread like wildfire due to the high rates of travel around the world. Zika and SARS killed thousands before they were brought under control. At the time, while the new threats were unknown to scientists, then those diseases could have been considered to be disease X.
Reason for Disease X
Disease X was not added to cause massive panic in the world. The idea that a new pandemic will hit human beings has always been there. 2018 is the years that WHO saw it fit to include the disease on the list officially. By including the unknown disease, the WHO hopes to push the world into improving the medical facilities present in order to prepare for what comes next. Disease X doesn’t even have to be that serious, it just has to be unknown.