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Prioritizing Surveillance, Transparency Critical To Stopping MERS From Spreading Across Borders

Financial Times: Surveillance is the best defense against a border-breaching virus
Anjana Ahuja, science commentator

“…As the World Health Organization undergoes a post-Ebola reboot, it must prioritize disease surveillance and, as noted at the G7 summit, create the capacity for a rapid response. Encouraging transparency would help: until this weekend, Korean ministers refused to disclose which hospitals were involved, stoking anxiety and fueling panicked shutdowns. Openness is critical to tracing contacts, limiting spread, and maintaining public confidence. … Early indications are that [South Korea’s MERS virus] is similar to the Saudi one, and has not mutated to become more contagious. If so, a sniffle from a returning traveler should never have seeded the Korean health drama that is now threatening to escalate into an economic crisis as frightened citizens stay at home…” (6/8).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.