18 November 2013 - WHO has been informed of an additional two laboratory-confirmed cases of infection with Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) from Kuwait.
The first patient 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.
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 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
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
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.