WHO calls for emergency committee regarding MERS-CoV

World Health Organization Director-General Margaret Chan announced on Friday that the WHO has called for an emergency committee to discuss the ongoing threat of MERS-CoV.

MERS-CoV is a relatively new type of coronavirus that was first reported in Jeddah Saudi Arabia in September 2012. Since that time, there have been 79 laboratory-confirmed cases in 9 countries and 42 deaths. Though the coronavirus was at first contained in the middle eastern region, it has since spread into France, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom.

Human-to-human transmission of MERS-CoV has happened in small groups, but sustained transmission beyond these groups has not yet been observed. If transmission of the coranvirus outside these small clusters of transmission is observed, it would represent a major change in the current risk assessment.

The emergency committee on MERS-CoV will be conducted under the International Health Regulations and be made up of international experts that would provide technical advice to Chan. One half of the committee took place on July 9 and the other half will continue on July 11.

The outcome of these two emergency committee meetings will be released on the WHO headquarters web site.