Monday, November 26, 2012

Lack of transparency concerns experts following new WHO advice for coronavirus

Helen Branswell
Last updated

The World Health Organization has warned countries to heighten their surveillance for possible cases of infection with the new coronavirus, suggesting patients with unexplained pneumonias should be tested even if they don’t have links to Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

The agency also suggested investigating clusters of severe respiratory infections, and clusters of such illnesses in health-care workers, regardless of where they happen in the world.

Up until now the WHO has said that testing for the new coronavirus should be restricted to patients with severe respiratory infections who had recently travelled to or who were residents of a country that had recorded cases. To date the only confirmed infections have been in Qatari and Saudi nationals.

That change in advice, the basis for which the WHO did not explain, raised eyebrows among some infectious diseases experts, who were quick to try to read between the lines.



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