Coronavirus UK: Pathogen may be ‘Disease X’ World Health Organisation warned about

Saturday, February 22, 2020
By Paul Martin

CORONAVIRUS cases have now hit 78,000, leading the head of the World Health Organisation (WHO) to announce the window of opportunity to contain the virus was “narrowing”. So is coronavirus the long-feared ‘Disease X’?

By TOM FISH
Express.co.uk
Sat, Feb 22, 2020

The WHO years ago cautioned a deadly “Disease X” could spark an international contagion. The new coronavirus, with its ability to suddenly morph from mild to deadly, is emerging as a contender.

The WHO years ago cautioned a deadly “Disease X” could spark an international contagion. The new coronavirus, with its ability to suddenly morph from mild to deadly, is emerging as a contender.

In less than three months, coronavirus has infected almost 78,000 people, mostly in China and killed more than 2,300.

Marion Koopmans, head of viroscience at Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam, and a member of the WHO’s emergency committee, recently wrote: “Whether it will be contained or not, this outbreak is rapidly becoming the first true pandemic challenge that fits the disease X category.”

Coronavirus has now spread to more than two dozen countries and territories.

Whether it will be contained or not, this outbreak is rapidly becoming the first true pandemic challenge that fits the disease X category

Marion Koopmans, head of viroscience at Erasmus University Medical Center

Worryingly, some of those infected with the virus had no known link to China, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said yesterday: “We are not seeing community spread here in the United States yet, but it’s very possible -even likely – that it may eventually happen.”.

Unlike SARS, its viral cousin, coronavirus replicates at high concentrations in the nose and throat in a similar way to the common cold and appears capable of spreading from those who show no, or mild, symptoms.

This makes it impossible to control using the fever-checking measures which helped stop the spread of SARS 17 years ago.

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