A new report by the Commission on Global Health Risk notes that infectious diseases remain one of the biggest risks facing humankind. With the recent Ebola and MERS outbreaks and the ongoing avian flu potential, this report gives everyone a moment to reflect on what “could happen.”

Few events are capable of equal damage to human lives and livelihoods. Yet the global community spends relatively little to protect populations from the risks of pandemics. Compared with other high profile threats to human and economic security—such as war, terrorism, nuclear disasters, and financial crises—we are underinvested and underprepared. This is the neglected dimension of global security.

There is a strong case for investing more to make the world safer from the threat of potential pandemics. Although there are enormous uncertainties in modeling the risks and potential impact of infectious disease crises, the case is compelling no matter how it is calculated. The potential losses in terms of human lives and livelihoods are immense. The economic costs alone can be catastrophic. By our calculation, the annualized expected loss from potential pandemics is more than $60 billion.

It is an interesting read and worth your time.