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South Korean MERS Outbreak Not Global Health Emergency, WHO Says; Germany Reports 1 MERS-Related Death, No Other Cases

Bloomberg Business: MERS Isn’t Global Health Emergency as Korea Cases Wane, WHO Says
“South Korea’s outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome isn’t a global health emergency, a World Health Organization committee decided after finding the virus hasn’t developed the ability to spread easily between people…” (Bennett, 6/17).

Deutsche Welle: MERS outbreak a ‘wake up call’ but ‘not a global health emergency,’ says WHO
“In a statement released on Wednesday, the United Nations (U.N.) health agency said although the spread of MERS didn’t yet merit being of international concern, the growing number of cases shows how deadly infectious diseases may strike at any time, and urged all countries to prepare for potential outbreaks…” (6/17).

Reuters: WHO says South Korea’s MERS outbreak ‘wake-up call’ as new cases reported
“…Members of the WHO’s emergency committee agreed unanimously that the outbreak did not qualify as a public health emergency of international concern — a rating that would have triggered a coordinated, worldwide response…” (Munroe/Nebehay, 6/17).

Reuters: Korean MERS outbreak a wake-up call for increasingly mobile world: WHO
“… ‘One of the things about this (South Korean) outbreak is that it has received a lot of attention and has raised anxiety levels internationally,’ the WHO’s assistant director general for health security, Keiji Fukuda, told reporters at a briefing. He said the situation highlights the need to strengthen collaboration between health and other key sectors, such as aviation, and to enhance communication processes…” (Nebehay/Kelland, 6/17).

Reuters: Eight new MERS cases in South Korea; 20th patient dies
“South Korea on Wednesday reported eight new cases of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), while another person infected with the virus died, health officials said, bringing to 20 the number of fatalities in the outbreak that began last month. A total of 162 people in South Korea have been infected in the outbreak, the largest outside Saudi Arabia…” (Park et al., 6/17).

Reuters: German man dies of complications stemming from MERS: health ministry of Lower Saxony
“A 65-year-old German man who was infected with the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) virus earlier this year has died in hospital, the health ministry of the German state of Lower Saxony said on Tuesday. … It is the first German death from the MERS virus…” (Copley, 6/16).

Washington Post: Why MERS spread so far, so fast in South Korea
“…The WHO says that each of the 15 deaths and 150 cases of infections in the country were linked to a man who had been traveling in the Middle East and was diagnosed and isolated on May 20. Most of the others who were infected got MERS from being in the health care facilities where he was treated, and there is ‘no known spillover into the general population,’ the WHO said…” (Cha, 6/16).

WHO: WHO statement on the ninth meeting of the IHR Emergency Committee regarding MERS-CoV
“…WHO does not recommend the application of any travel or trade restrictions and considers screening at points of entry to be unnecessary at this time. Raising awareness about MERS and its symptoms among those travelling to and from affected areas is good public health practice…” (6/17).

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