WHO issues list of high-risk diseases to be monitored as causes of future epidemics
- Published: Wednesday, 21 February 2018 09:48
The World Health Organization (WHO) has developed a special tool for determining which diseases and pathogens to prioritize for research and development in public health emergency contexts. This tool seeks to identify those diseases that pose a public health risk because of their epidemic potential and for which there are no, or insufficient, countermeasures.
The second annual review of the list of high-risk diseases identified by the WHO tool occurred recently. Experts consider that given their potential to cause a public health emergency and the absence of efficacious drugs and/or vaccines, there is an urgent need for accelerated research and development for:
- Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever (CCHF)
- Ebola virus disease and Marburg virus disease
- Lassa fever
- Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)
- Nipah and henipaviral diseases
- Rift Valley fever (RVF)
- Disease X.
Disease X represents “the knowledge that a serious international epidemic could be caused by a pathogen currently unknown to cause human disease”.