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June 20, 2018

Earlier this year, the World Health Organisation (WHO) warned that an array of new diseases may soon have the potential to kill millions of people around the globe.

The information, highlighted in the 2018 annual review of the Blueprint list of priority diseases, noted an unknown virus simply known as “Disease X” as one of the deadliest diseases for which there is no cure or preventative measures.

Experts warned Disease X had the potential to mutate from existing diseases including HIV and the Spanish Flu and wreak havoc on the world.

“Disease X represents the knowledge that a serious international epidemic could be caused by a pathogen currently unknown to cause human disease, and so the R&D Blueprint explicitly seeks to enable cross-cutting R&D preparedness that is also relevant for an unknown ‘Disease X’ as far as possible,” WHO said of Disease X.

The Telegraph has now reported a new deadly strain of bird flu has been detected in Chinese poultry that has the potential of starting a new worldwide influenza pandemic. According to the report, the virus H7NP in its current states kills 38 per cent of those who get infected by it. There is also a chance it is Disease X WHO warned the world about.

“[H7N9] is an example of another virus which has proven its ability to transmit from birds to humans,” Professor Jonathan Van-Tam told the publication. “It’s possible that it could be the cause of the next pandemic.”

The mortality rate of 38 per cent is higher than any of the current pandemic virus. People who contract the virus are known to experience coughing, high fevers, shortness of breath and even pneumonia. In worse cases, there is no way for the lungs to provide the body with a sufficient enough level of oxygen, leading victims to experience acute respiratory distress syndrome, organ failure and septic shock.

It’s also a particular problem for older members of society and pregnant women, who are more likely to experience advanced forms of the virus. The disease is similar to the bird flu that impacted millions around the world in 2003. The report claimed 623 of the 1,625 Chinese people infected to date have passed away.

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Category: Features, Health alert

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