WHO Statement on MERS-CoV update
WHO Statement on the third meeting of the iHR Emergency committee concerning Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV)
WHO Statement on the third meeting of the iHR Emergency committee concerning middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (mERS-CoV) The third meeting of the Emergency committee con- vened by the Director-General under the International Health Regulations (2005) was held by teleconference on 25 September 2013.
During the informational session, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Qatar presented on recent developments in their countries. The WHO Secretariat provided an update on epidemiological developments, Hajj and Umrah and recent WHO activities related to MERS-CoV. The Committee reviewed and deliberated on the infor- mation provided.
The Committee concluded that it saw no reason to change its advice to the Director-General. Based on the current information, and using a risk-assessment approach, it was the unanimous decision of the Committee that the conditions for a Public Health Emergency of Interna- tional Concern (PHEIC) have not at present been met.
While not considering the events to constitute a PHEIC, Members of the Committee reiterated their prior advice for consideration by WHO and Member States and em- phasized the importance of: strengthening surveillance, especially in countries with pilgrims participating in Umrah and the Hajj;
continuing to increase awareness and effective risk communication concerning MERS-CoV, including with pilgrims;
supporting countries that are particularly vulner- able, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa taking into account the regional challenges;
increasing relevant diagnostic testing capacities;
continuing with investigative work, including identifying the source of the virus and relevant exposures through case control studies and other research; and
timely sharing of information in accordance with the International Health Regulations (2005) and ongoing active coordination with WHO.
The WHO Secretariat will continue to provide regular updates to the Members, and currently anticipates reconvening the Committee in late November 2013. Any serious new developments may require re-convening the Committee before then. Based on these views and the currently available information, the Director- General accepted the Committee’s assessment and thanked its Members for their advice.