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SARS, MERS, COVID-19 and Disease X? Another pandemic may still be ahead of us. But what could it be?

pandemic-future

— Lucia Stein, ABC News

WHILE WE MAY be looking forward to the end of the coronavirus crisis, health experts warn there may be more pandemics ahead of us.

Within the last 20 years alone, we’ve “dodged five bullets” with SARS, MERS, Ebola, avian influenza and swine flu.

But despite the knowledge gained from those experiences, we were still largely unprepared for the coronavirus crisis. And the speed of its spread highlights the dangers posed by a hyper globalised world in a pandemic.

IMAGERY (from top L to R): Ebola virus; MERS; H1N1 Swine flu; Avian flu; SARS; Covid-19. Sourced via stock resources.

With more signs that things are ramping up, senior health officials from the World Health Organization warned last year that although the coronavirus pandemic has been “very severe,” it is “not necessarily the big one”.

Modern life has risks of spreading disease

While many years ago, a disease might have emerged in one area of the world and then have “died out before it spread anywhere else … having global trade and travel means that the disease finds new human hosts really quickly,” says Victoria Brookes, a senior lecturer in population health at Charles Sturt University.

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