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Pandemic Series: new mosquito-borne pathogen by 2019?

Among their many irritating qualities, mosquitos act as highly efficient carriers of disease. Malaria, caused by the plasmodium protozoa, is the prime and widespread example, with approx. 200M cases in 2014 leading to approx. 440K fatalities in 2015, according to the WHO. Mosquito-borne viral illnesses include Yellow Fever, Dengue Fever, Japanese Encephalitis, West Nile virus, and a host of others.

Many mosquito-borne illnesses are have been known since ancient times, but some new ones are regularly discovered. The Zika virus, first isolated in the 1950s in humans, has recently become a major health threat, and is the subject of several other questions. While Zika has an even lower mortality rate than malaria (its larger threat being to the as-yet-unborn), other recently-emerged pathogens could be worse. For example, Eastern Equine Encephalitis discovered in the 1930's, has a much higher fatality rate of ~30% (fortunately its prime carrier mosquito feeds almost exclusively on birds.)

An illness that spreads like Zika or Malaria but with a relatively high fatality rate could be a huge public health threat.

By 2018 will the CDC, WHO, or a published scientific paper report that a naturally-occurring qualitatively new mosquito-borne pathogen with a potential death rate of > 2% has been discovered?

We'll consider a pathogen "qualitatively new" if it is given a unique new name or official nomenclature and widely described as "new." We define a "potential death rate of X" as being fulfilled by any report of > 100 cases in which > X death occurs, or in which > 1 death is reported in a number of reported cases exceeding 100/X. We will consider a pathogen mosquito-borne if the CDC, WHO, or published scientific article verifies that it can be spread from human-to-human via a type of mosquito for which humans are a major food source.


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