Wednesday, November 20, 2013

WHO issues global red alert on respiratory infections

hat-tip makoto_au_japon - editing is mine -
By Victor Iluyemi
November 19, 2013 19:07:44pm GMT
WorldStage Newsonline-- The World Health Organisation (WHO) in a statement on Tuesday placed all health care providers on red alert on possible outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Infections (SARI).

WHO urges all countries to maintain their surveillance for SARI and to carefully review any unusual patterns.
It said recent travellers returning from the Middle East who develop SARI should be tested for Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) as advised in the current surveillance recommendations.
Globally, from September 2012 to date, WHO has been informed of a total of 157 laboratory-confirmed cases of infection with MERS-CoV, including 66 death.

WHO also  informed of an additional two laboratory-confirmed cases of infection with Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) from Kuwait. The first patient, the statement noted, is a 47 year-old man who became ill on 30 October 2013 and was hospitalised on 7 November 2013. He is in critical condition. The second patient is a 52-year-old man with underlying medical conditions. He became ill on 7 November and was hospitalised on 10 November 2013. He is in critical condition.

Patients diagnosed and reported to date have had respiratory disease as their primary illness. Diarrhoea is commonly reported among the patients and severe complications include renal failure and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) with shock. It is possible that severely immunocompromised patients can present with atypical signs and symptoms.

Health care facilities, WHO stated 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,” it said.
"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."

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