Insect-borne viruses may trigger next pandemic, warn health experts

Insect-borne viruses may trigger next pandemic, warn health experts

Over 89 countries have faced Zika outbreaks since 2016.

Next pandemic may be caused by insect-borne pathogens, as per the World Health Organization. They seem to be posing a great risk, a Daily Mail report said.

Arboviruses, such as yellow fever, Zika, Chikungunya and dengue, are pathogens spread by arthropods like mosquitoes and ticks.

The experts are looking to come up with strategies to avert another pandemic.

At a briefing on Thursday, Dr Sylvie Briand, director, Global Infectious Hazard Preparedness team at the WHO, said, "We have been through two years of Covid pandemic and we have learned the hard way what [it costs] not to be enough prepared for high impact events."

"We had [a] signal with Sars in 2003 and the experience of the influenza 2009 pandemic – but there were still gaps in our preparedness. The next pandemic could, very likely, be due to a new arbovirus. And we also have some signals that the risk is increasing,” added Briand, who was speaking at the launch of the WHO's new Global Arbovirus initiative.

The initiative looked to bring together work to tackle insect-borne threats under one-roof.

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Over 89 countries have faced Zika outbreaks since 2016. Since the early 2000s, yellow fever risk has been on the rise. Dengue fever infects 390 million people every year in 130 countries.

Dr Mike Ryan, head, World Health Organisation's Emergency Programme, said, "For each of these diseases, there have been gains in different aspects of surveillance response, research and development. But sustainability is often limited to the scope and duration and scope of disease-specific projects. There is an urgent need to re-evaluate the tools at hand and how these can be used across diseases to ensure efficient response, evidence-based practice, equipped and trained personnel and engagement of communities."

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