MERS-CoV [to 10 September 2016]
WHO statement on the tenth meeting of the IHR Emergency Committee regarding MERS
3 September 2015
[Editor’s text bolding]
The tenth meeting of the Emergency Committee (EC) convened by the Director-General under the International Health Regulations (2005) (IHR 2005) regarding the Middle East respiratory syndrome 1 was held by teleconference on 2 September 2015, from 1300 to 1620 Central European Summer Time (UTC +2). During the meeting the WHO Secretariat provided an update to the Committee on epidemiological and scientific developments, including recent cases and transmission patterns in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), Jordan and the United Arab Emirates. The Secretariat also provided current risk assessments with regard to these events, and information on control and prevention measures…
…Members of the EC agreed that the situation still does not constitute a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). At the same time, they emphasized that they have a heightened sense of concern about the overall MERS situation. Although it has been three years since the emergence of MERS in humans was recognized, the global community remains within the grip of this emerging infectious disease. There is continued virus transmission from camels to humans in some countries and continued instances of human-to-human transmission in health care settings. Nosocomial outbreaks have most often been associated with exposure to persons with unrecognized MERS infection. The major factors contributing to the ongoing situation are insufficient awareness about the urgent dangers posed by this virus, insufficient engagement by all relevant sectors, and insufficient implementation of scalable infection control measures, especially in health care settings such as emergency departments. The Committee recognizes that tremendous efforts have been made and some progress has been achieved in these areas. However, the Committee also notes that the progress is not yet sufficient to control this threat and until this is achieved, individual countries and the global community will remain at significant risk for further outbreaks.
Moreover, the current outbreak is occurring close to the start of the Hajj and many pilgrims will return to countries with weak surveillance and health systems. The recent outbreak in the Republic of Korea demonstrated that when the MERS virus appears in a new setting, there is great potential for widespread transmission and severe disruption to the health system and to society….