Emergency Committee Of International Health Experts Begins Talks On MERS Virus

“International health experts began urgent talks on the Middle East coronavirus (MERS) on Tuesday amid concerns about larger numbers of milder infections possibly going undetected, the [WHO] said,” Reuters reports. “The United Nations agency announced last Friday that it was forming an emergency committee, to convene this week, to prepare for a possible worsening of the SARS-like virus,” the news service notes (Nebehay, 7/9). “The 15-member committee, which includes Saudi Arabia’s deputy health minister Ziad Memish and health officials from six other predominantly Muslim countries, met via teleconference [Tuesday] to decide whether [the virus] represents a public health emergency of international concern,” Bloomberg Businessweek writes. WHO Director-General Margaret Chan “last convened [an emergency] committee to battle the 2009 global flu pandemic,” the news service notes (Bennett, 7/9). “Representatives from all nine countries [affected by the virus] made presentations by video link [on Tuesday], said WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl,” CBC News states (7/9). “The group plans to meet again on July 17,” Bloomberg adds (7/9).