“Disease X” is a conceptual term introduced by the World Health Organization (WHO) to describe a potential future infectious disease that may cause a severe global pandemic. The idea behind Disease X is to emphasize the unpredictability of emerging infectious diseases and the need for preparedness and research to address novel threats
.The concept was first introduced in 2018 as part of the WHO’s Global Preparedness Monitoring Board report. It is not a specific disease itself but rather a placeholder for an unknown pathogen that could have serious implications for public health.
The rationale behind Disease X is rooted in the historical emergence of new infectious diseases, such as the H1N1 influenza pandemic in 2009 and the Ebola outbreak in West Africa in 2014.
The WHO stresses the importance of identifying and understanding potential pathogens before they become global threats, highlighting the challenges posed by evolving microbes, ecological changes, and increased human connectivity.
In essence, Disease X serves as a reminder to public health officials, researchers, and policymakers to remain vigilant, invest in surveillance and research capabilities, and be prepared for the unexpected in the ongoing battle against infectious diseases.
The goal is to enhance global readiness and response mechanisms to minimize the impact of future pandemics.