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Friday, June 21, 2013
WHO: Health officials meet to discuss urgent measures for control of novel coronavirus infection (MERS-CoV) #MERS #Coronavirus
Over 80 health officials from countries in the Eastern Mediterranean Region, as well as from France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Russian Federation and the United Kingdom (UK) will meet in the WHO Regional Office in Cairo from 20 to 22 June to discuss and agree on a collective response plan to counter the threats of novel coronavirus infection to global health.
The emergence of novel coronavirus infection in September 2012, now named Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), has raised a global health alert. Although, it is a new, emerging virus that is distantly related to the virus that caused SARS in 2003, the emergence of this novel virus has drawn widespread global attention and concern as the virus has caused death in about 60% of patients so far. About 75% of the cases have been in men and most have occurred in people with one or more major chronic health conditions. The majority of patients infected with the virus required intensive care treatment and currently there are no treatment options available to treat patients infected with this virus.
As of January 2013, WHO had received reports of laboratory-confirmed cases originating in the following countries in the Region: Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. France, Germany, Italy, Tunisia and the UK also reported laboratory-confirmed cases; they were either transferred there for care of the disease or returned from the Middle East and subsequently became ill. In France, Italy, Tunisia and the UK, there has been limited local transmission among patients who had not been to the Middle East but had been in close contact with the laboratory-confirmed or probable cases.
In view of the fact that the majority of the human infections with MERs-CoV are reported from the Region, the WHO Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean is organizing an intercountry meeting on the MERS-CoV outbreak in the Regional Office from 20 to 22 June 2013. The meeting will be attended by senior level health officials of all the countries in the Region. In addition, health officials from France, Germany, Italy and the UK, who have reported imported cases of MERS-CoV infection, are also expected to attend along with officials from Ireland and the Russian Federation.
Dr Ala Alwan, WHO Regional Director for WHO Eastern Mediterranean is expected to inaugurate this meeting which will also be attended by WHO staff from the Regional Offices for the Eastern Mediterranean and Europe and WHO headquarters, as well as representatives of WHO collaborating centres. The meeting will discuss the current situation in the Region related to the emergence of this virus and review the current level of response and control measures being undertaken in affected countries. At the end of the meeting, countries are expected to agree on a joint action plan that can collectively improve and strengthen public health preparedness measures against MERS-CoV through regional and inter-regional collaboration and partnerships.