WHO concludes mission to investigate MERS-CoV risk in UAE

The World Health Organization and the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN) recently concluded a mission to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to assess the risk posed by the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in the country.

A team of six experts in epidemiology, infection prevention and control, food safety and the human-animal interface, risk communication and coordination was sent to the UAE after a rise in MERS-CoV infection in April. The team worked with H.E. Abdul Rahman bin Mohammed Al Owais, the Minister of Health, to complete the mission.

The team worked with authorities to inspect the infection prevention and control measures at the hospital where most of the cases of infection were traced back to.

"We are impressed by the amount of data and information generated during the investigation of MERS cases by UAE to help better understand MERS- CoV," Peter Ben Embarek, the leader of the WHO team, said. "This knowledge is of utmost importance to the rest of the world to better discover the source of the virus and the routes of transmissions from animals to humans."

There was no evidence of sustained human to human infection, according to preliminary results. The surge in cases is attributed to other factors. WHO recommends that the UAE continue to collect and share information on MERS-CoV.