The disease X: waiting for the next pandemic

Original Article, Pol J Public Health, Vol. 132 (2022): 31-33

Ewelina Iskra1, Agnieszka Pachnia2,
Bartłomiej Drop3, Małgorzata Polz-Dacewicz1

1 Department of Virology with SARS Laboratory, Medical University of Lublin, Poland
2 Ludwików Medical Facility, Ludwikow, Poland
3 Department of Information Technology and Medical Statistics, Medical University of Lublin, Poland

DOI_disc_logo 10.2478/pjph-2022-0006

© 2022  Medical University of Lublin. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonComercial-No Derivs licence (


In 2008 the WHO published a report on infectious diseases against which there is no effective treatment or vaccines and therefore – diseases able to cause pandemic. In addition, so called disease X was mentioned – potentially deadly, with no herd immunity against it, holding pandemic potential, unknown in medicine yet. In 2019 such disease X was COVID-19. There is a plausibility, that next pandemic will be induced by zoonotic RNA virus (alike SARS-CoV-2) infecting people in place of intensified human-animal contacts (like high-density animal farming) without proper legal regulations in terms of animal husbandry and high population density. Also in the past major pandemics in XX and XXI centuries were result of zoonotic transmissions (HIV/AIDS, SARS, MERS, Spanish flu, avian flu, swine flu, Ebola). The key in risk recognising is governments and international healthcare agencies’ reaction – proper countermeasures to control pandemic range should be taken. Animal trade should be legally regulated and deforestation limited. There is also an urgent need for funding R&D studies on diseases listed by the WHO.

Keywords: zoonosis, emergency infectious disease, pandemic, pathogen.

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