Medical experts believe the flu is most likely to cause the next global pandemic, according to a new study.

Covid-19 was the last deadly disease to cause a global pandemic, sweeping across the world causing major lockdowns and resulting in millions of deaths worldwide.

Now medical experts from around the world have ranked the infectious diseases they believe are the most likely to cause the next pandemic as part of a new study published in the journal Travel Medicine and Infectious Disease.

The study surveyed 187 global infectious disease experts from 57 different countries, The Mirror reported, with each ranking various pathogens (a maximum of 14) based on their perceived pandemic risk.

Medical experts reveal diseases they believe will cause the next global pandemic

Results from the study showed medical experts believe the common flu is most likely to cause the next global pandemic.

thisisoxfordshire: Medical experts from around the world have been involved in a study to determine the infectious disease that is most likely to cause the next global pandemic.Medical experts from around the world have been involved in a study to determine the infectious disease that is most likely to cause the next global pandemic. (Image: Getty Images)

Second on the list, according to The Mirror, was the illness 'Disease X'.

Others included on the list of diseases likely to cause the next pandemic included coronavirus, ebola, the original SARS virus from the early 2000s and Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever (CCHF).

Diseases likely to cause next global pandemic ranked

The study results showed the diseases medical experts believed to be the most likely to cause the next pandemic were:

  1. Influenza virus (flu) - 57%
  2. Disease X - 21%
  3. Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) - 8%
  4. Original SARS-CoV virus (from 2002-03) - 2%
  5. Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever (CCHF) - 1.6%
  6. Ebola - 1.6%

Other diseases featured in the study included:

  • Nipah virus
  • Henipavirus
  • Rift Valley fever virus

Flu already causes 'mini pandemics' across the world each year

Lead author of the study from the University of Cologne in Germany, Dr Jon Salmanton-Garcia, said the flu already causes "mini pandemics" around the world every winter.

Speaking in The Mirror, he added: "Each winter we have an influenza season.

"Yet, every season the strains involved change, that is the reason why we can get influenza several times in life and vaccines change year to year.

"In case a new strain becomes more virulent, this control could be lost."

However, Dr Salmanton-Garcia believes the world is now much more prepared for a global pandemic after Covid-19.


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He continued: "In the Covid-19 pandemic, we have learned many things on how to approach a respiratory virus pandemic.

"This includes social distancing, hand cleaning, face masks, a renewed focus on vaccination, and trust in healthcare institutions.

"In parallel, institutions have also learnt a lot. Preparedness and surveillance are now, vitally, better-funded."