WHO has been informed of an additional three laboratory-confirmed
cases of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV)
infection in Saudi Arabia.
The first patient is a 67-year-old woman from Riyadh with
underlying medical conditions. She became ill on 25 July 2013. She has
no known exposure to animals or to a case confirmed with MERS-CoV
infection. She is currently hospitalized.
The other two patients are health care workers, both women, from
Assir and Riyadh regions . Both of them have mild symptoms and were
exposed to patients who were laboratory-confirmed cases.
Globally, from September 2012 to date, WHO has been informed of a
total of 94 laboratory-confirmed cases of infection with MERS-CoV,
including 46 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
travellers 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 diarrhoea, 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) to advise the Director-General on the status of
the current situation. The Emergency Committee, which comprises
international experts from all WHO Regions, unanimously advised that,
with the information now available, and using a risk-assessment
approach, the conditions for a Public Health Emergency of International
Concern (PHEIC) have not at present been met.