The Ministry of Health (MoH) in the United Arab Emirates
(UAE) has notified WHO of a laboratory-confirmed case of infection with
Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in the country.
The patient is an 82-year-old man with underlying medical conditions and is currently in critical condition.
Globally, from September 2012 to date, WHO has been informed of a
total of 82 laboratory-confirmed cases of infection with MERS-CoV,
including 45 deaths.
Based on the current situation and available information, WHO
encourages all Member States to continue their surveillance for severe
acute respiratory infections (SARI) and to carefully review any unusual
Health care providers are advised to maintain vigilance. Recent
travelers returning from the Middle East who develop SARI should be
tested for MERS-CoV as advised in the current surveillance
Specimens from patients’ lower respiratory tracts should be obtained
for diagnosis where possible. Clinicians are reminded that MERS-CoV
infection should be considered even with atypical signs and symptoms,
such as diarrhea, in patients who are immunocompromised.
Health care facilities are reminded of the importance of systematic
implementation of infection prevention and control (IPC). Health care
facilities that provide care for patients suspected or confirmed with
MERS-CoV infection should take appropriate measures to decrease the risk
of transmission of the virus to other patients, health care workers and
All Member States are reminded to promptly assess and notify WHO of
any new case of infection with MERS-CoV, along with information about
potential exposures that may have resulted in infection and a
description of the clinical course. Investigation into the source of
exposure should promptly be initiated to identify the mode of exposure,
so that further transmission of the virus can be prevented.
WHO does not advise special screening at points of entry with regard
to this event nor does it currently recommend the application of any
travel or trade restrictions.
WHO has convened an Emergency Committee under the International
Health Regulations (IHR) on a precautionary basis in order to be
prepared for a change in the situation. The Emergency Committee, which
comprises international experts from all WHO Regions, will provide
expert technical advice to the WHO Director-General in accordance to the
IHR (2005). The first meeting of the Committee took place on 9 July
2013 and a further meeting is scheduled for next week.