WHO Expresses Concern Over MERS, Does Not Declare Global Health Emergency

News outlets report on the findings of a WHO panel that concluded the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) does not yet constitute a global health emergency, as well as other developments in the outbreak.

Associated Press: WHO: MERS virus isn’t an emergency — yet
“The spread of a puzzling respiratory virus in the Middle East and beyond doesn’t yet constitute a global health emergency despite a recent spike in cases, the World Health Organization said Wednesday…” (Cheng, 5/14).

HealthDay News: MERS Not Yet a Public Health Emergency: WHO
“…That’s because there’s ‘no evidence of sustained human-to-human transmission’ of the mysterious virus that first surfaced in the Middle East two years ago, the WHO said in a news release issued Tuesday…” (Reinberg/Thompson, 5/14).

Reuters: WHO says deadly MERS virus does not constitute global emergency
“Concern about the deadly new Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) virus has ‘significantly increased’ but the disease does not yet constitute a global public health emergency, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday…” (Kelland, 5/14).

Reuters: Saudi Arabia reports 10 more deaths from MERS virus, 20 other cases
“Saudi Arabia said that 10 more people infected with Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) had died over the last two days and identified 20 new cases of the virus, pushing the total number of infections in the country to 511…” (Bakr, 5/14).

Reuters: Man returning from Saudi Arabia is first Dutch patient of MERS virus
“A man returning to the Netherlands from Saudi Arabia has been admitted to hospital with the deadly Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) virus, a Dutch health official said…” (Deutsch, 5/14).

Reuters: Two sick U.S. hospital workers test negative for MERS virus
“Two U.S. hospital workers who fell ill after contact with a patient suffering from Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) have tested negative for the often-deadly virus, a Florida health official said on Wednesday…” (Liston, 5/14).

ScienceInsider: MERS Situation More Serious but Not an Emergency Yet, WHO Panel Says
“An international committee advising the World Health Organization (WHO) today called on countries on the Arabian Peninsula to improve their hospital hygiene and help in carrying out much-needed studies on how the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) virus spreads. But the panel stopped short of declaring the deadly new disease, which emerged 2 years ago, a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC)…” (Kupferschmidt, 5/14).

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