A list of the 37 viruses which pose the greatest threat to populations around the world has been revealed by scientists.
It includes viruses that could spread between people, but have not yet caused a major epidemic, the Press Association reported.
The list was drawn up by researchers at the University of Edinburgh whose prediction methods previously predicted the rise of Zika and Ebola.
Scientists are most concerned about MERS coronavirus, relatives of Ebola, and several viruses carried by mosquitoes.
All of those viruses have caused isolated disease outbreaks, but most are confined to animals.
Nevertheless, each would represent a major risk to humans if they became able to pass from one person to another more easily.
Lead researcher Professor Mark Woolhouse, from the University of Edinburgh, said: “Monitoring these infections should be prioritised because relatively minor changes in their ecology could lead to major changes in the threat they pose to public health.”
Researchers assessed several characteristics, including the severity of infection, what species are infected and how well they adapt to new hosts.
The study was published in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases.
This is the full list of viruses:
- lymphocytic choriomeningitis*
- Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever
- Rift Valley
- severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome
- Japanese encephalitis*
- West Nile*
- Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS)
- Barmah Forest
- Ross River
- Semliki Forest
- Venezuelan equine encephalitis
- Bundibugyo Ebola
- Lake Victoria Marburg
- Sudan Ebola
- Nelson Bay
- Colorado tick fever*
- Titi monkey
- Macacine herpesvirus 1
- Simian virus 40
- *Human transmission of these viruses is known only by iatrogenic or vertical routes.