Professor Jean-Jacques Muyembe Tamfum, the doctor who discovered Ebola in 1976, cautioned experts and the public about new deadly viruses called “Disease X.”‘
The World Health Organization (WHO) tagged these unknown number of new viruses as Disease X, in which the X stands for unexpected.
Dr. Muyembe expected these new deadly viruses to batter even if the world is battling the COVID-19 pandemic. He suggested that the Deadly X will most likely come out of the African tropical rainforests.
“We are now in a world where new pathogens will come out. And that’s what constitutes a threat for humanity,” he told CNN.
While Disease X is hypothetical, the WHO said experts are raising the alarm that this could lead to destruction around the world if and when it occurs.
The disease has been on top of the priority list of diseases of the WHO. Experts said it is crucial for humanity to stay alert and keep a close watch on the breakout of any new pathogen.
A woman in Congo is probably the first Disease X patient
Dr. Muyembe said a woman who showed symptoms of hemorrhagic fever in a far-flung town in the Democratic Republic of the Congo could have been the first Disease X patient =
The woman underwent testing for several illnesses but tested negative for every single disease.
Researchers expressed fear of the possibility that the woman is the patient zero of Disease X, the first known infection of a new pathogen that can spread fast just liked COVID-19 and has a fatality rate of 50% to 90%.
The un-identified patient reportedly recovered but the cause of her illness is still unknown.
More zoonotic Diseases could come out in the future
Given the case of the woman who tested negative for several known diseases with similar symptoms, Muyembe warned that many zoonotic diseases — those that jump from animals to humans — could come out in the future.
Zoonotic diseases such as rabies, yellow fever, brucellosis and Lyme disease have caused epidemics and pandemics in the past.
While the deadly human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) was discovered from a type of Chimpanzee which mutated into a fatal disease, SARS-CoV-2 — the virus that causes COVID-19 — and MERS are all coronaviruses that have suddenly jumped from animals to humans.
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