The worst outbreak of Ebola to date serves as a timely reminder of the threat deadly viruses pose to the world economy.
Border closures, the suspension of some international flights and slowed economic activity have already hit the west African countries worst affected by Ebola.
Analysts expect the economic damage from the virus, which has led to over 1,500 deaths in recent months, to be largely contained to Africa. Still, they warn that the risk of a pandemic that could have a devastating impact on world growth remains.
"On a regional scale, we have already seen geopolitical implications of the Ebola outbreak with flight cancellations and significantly impaired trade and human mobility," said Vikas Shah, CEO of Swiscot, a global textiles firm and a professor who's been following the Ebola crisis closely.
"Should a novel or other virus emerge with high mortality and ease of transmission, it could lock-up our global economy quite fast," he said, adding that some studies suggest that the cost of a major flu-pandemic could be almost $200 billion in the U.S. alone.
At its worst, a severe flu pandemic could cost 4.8 percent of global gross domestic product (GDP), or more than $3 trillion, sparking a global recession, Olga Jonas, economic adviser, health, nutrition and population at the World Bank wrote on the organization's website late last year.
"What we can say confidently is that there is a high chance of another pandemic. We travel more often, so viruses can spread more easily," said Dr Jonathan O'Keeffe, medical director at International SOS, a leading medical and travel security risk services company that employs over 10,000 people working in 70 countries. "We don't know which virus it will be and when, but sadly we do know it's coming."