14 October 2013 - WHO has been informed of an additional two laboratory-confirmed cases of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infection in Saudi Arabia.
The patients, both men, aged 55 and 78, were from Riyadh
region. They became ill at the end of September 2013 and died in the
beginning of October 2013. Both the patients were reported to have had
no contact to a known laboratory-confirmed case with MERS-CoV.
Globally, from September 2012 to date, WHO has been informed
of a total of 138 laboratory-confirmed cases of infection with MERS-CoV,
including 60 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 visitors.
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.