SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 24, 2016

WHO Emergency Committee decides MERS-CoV is not Public Health Emergency

The World Health Organization Emergency Committee said on Wednesday that is has not changed its state of emergency for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus during a teleconference with WHO Director-General Margaret Chan.

The Members of the Emergency Committee, two experts and Chan were on the conference call to discuss novel cases of MERS-CoV from States Parties and how this might affect the risk assessment of the disease. Representatives of countries with confirmed cases of MERS-CoV also participated in the conference call, including Oman, Qatar, Spain and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The participants discussed updates on the disease, as well as scientific developments, including new cases, clusters, the confirmation of polymerase chain reaction testing of the disease in camels and updates on the Hajj pilgrimage. States Parties also spoke on the development of the disease within their respective countries.

After the discussion, the Emergency Committee decided to keep its current control and treatment advice for MERS-CoV infection. The Committee unanimously decided that the disease does not qualify as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.

While the disease did not qualify as a PHEIC, cases are still ongoing. The WHO and Member States recommend that countries strengthen surveillance and control methods regarding MERS-CoV, which include investigating sources of infections and sharing all updated information with the WHO under the International Health Regulations.