Emerging diseases have become a focus of most of the world, especially in 2020. But what exactly is an emerging disease? Simply put, an emerging disease is a new, previously unknown disease or a disease once thought under control, that is once again affecting a population and spreading across geographic areas to affect a wider population.
For a disease to be considered an emerging disease, it must typically meet a set of standards or qualities. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) these characteristics include:
- a previously unknown infectious organism or agent
- a known illness or agent that has spread to a new previously unaffected population or geographic region
- a previously known disease that has re-emerged as a threat