The World Health Organization has sounded the alarm over the next potential pandemic – which could be spread by insects.
On Thursday, the WHO launched the Global Arbovirus Initiative with the aim of implementing an “integrated strategic plan to control emerging and re-emerging arboviruses with epidemic and pandemic potential, focusing on risk surveillance, prevention of pandemic, preparedness, detection and response, and building a coalition of partners.”
The WHO warns that the risks of a new insect-borne epidemic are “increasing”.
“The next pandemic could, very likely, be due to a new arbovirus,” said Dr Sylvie Briand – director of the global infectious hazard preparedness team at WHO on Thursday. “And we also have signals that the risk is increasing.”
Arboviruses are also known as arthropod-borne viruses, meaning pathogens that are spread by blood-feeding arthropods such as mosquitoes, ticks, sandflies, and midges. There are believed to be over 600 known arboviruses, of which over 130 arboviruses are known to cause human disease.
Arboviruses include pathogens such as Zika, yellow fever, Chikungunya, dengue, and West Nile virus infection.
The dengue virus is transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected person. Aedes species of mosquito. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention note that about half of the world’s population lives in dengue risk areas. The WHO reported: “The number of dengue cases reported to WHO has increased more than 8-fold over the past two decades, from 505,430 cases in 2000 to over 2.4 million in 2010 and 5 .2 million in 2019.”
Since 2016, more than 89 countries have experienced Zika outbreaks, according to the Daily Mail.
WebMD reported, “The World Health Organization estimates that there are 200,000 cases of yellow fever worldwide each year, resulting in 30,000 deaths. and high-density urbanization.”
“The frequency and magnitude of outbreaks of these arboviruses, particularly those transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes, are increasing globally, fueled by the convergence of ecological, economic and social factors,” the WHO said Thursday.
“We have been through two years of the COVID-19 pandemic and we have learned the hard way what [it costs] not being prepared for high impact events,” Briand said at the launch of the Global Integrated Arboviruses Initiative. ” We had [a] signal with Sars in 2003 and the experience of the 2009 flu pandemic – but there were still gaps in our preparation.
According to the Telegraph, clinician Dr Jeremy Farrar said: “These diseases are diseases of our time” which are driven by “21st century things”, such as climate change, urbanization and globalisation.
Dr Ren Minghui – Deputy Director General of the WHO – warned: “As urban populations continue to grow, the threat of these diseases becomes more alarming. As close living conditions amplify the spread of this virus, we must address these challenges now to prevent a catastrophic impact on healthcare systems in the future.”
Dr Mike Ryan, WHO Emergency Program Manager, said: “For each of these diseases, there have been gains in different aspects of surveillance response, research and development. But durability is often limited to the scope, duration and scope of the disease. specific projects. There is an urgent need to reassess the tools available and how they can be used for all diseases to ensure effective response, evidence-based practice, equipped and trained staff, and community engagement.