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Public health labs amid Pneumonia outbreak in China, prepares for future pandemics

In response to concerns regarding a potential new wave of pneumonia in China and the threat of Disease X, the Odisha government is taking proactive measures by reinforcing seven public health laboratories across different regions. The initiative aims to launch a project on zoonotic diseases, enhancing the state’s ability to monitor and respond to future pandemics.

Citing warnings from the World Health Organization (WHO), the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare is directing attention to 20 zoonotic diseases, including anthrax, scrub typhus, rabies, swine flu, bird flu, bovine tuberculosis, Nipah, brucellosis, blastomycosis, psittacosis, trichinosis, cat scratch disease, and histoplasmosis. Rajasthan and Odisha have been selected to pilot the ‘One Health’ project, which involves surveillance of critical bacterial, viral, and parasitic infections with a focus on zoonotic and trans-boundary pathogens.

Under this project, the government plans to fortify regional public health laboratories for diagnostic testing and develop additional methodologies as needed to monitor and comprehend the spread of emerging diseases, colloquially termed Disease X. The increased risk of infectious pathogens crossing species barriers post-COVID-19, attributed to factors like heightened global travel, evolving food habits, and cross-border trade, underscores the necessity for comprehensive preparedness against potential future pandemics caused by currently unknown bacteria or viruses. Health experts are actively addressing these concerns to ensure readiness for unforeseen public health challenges.


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