Earlier this morning I posted much of WHO's Emergency Committee statement that MERS is not yet a public health emergency of international concern. Here's the rest of the statement on the Fifth Meeting of the IHR Emergency Committee concerning MERS-CoV:
The Committee strongly urged WHO and Member States to take immediate steps to:
• improve national policies for infection prevention and control, and implement them in health-care facilities in all countries; this is most urgent for affected countries;
• initiate and accelerate critical investigations, including case-control, serological, environmental, and animal studies, to better understand the epidemiology, especially risk factors and assess the effectiveness of control measures;
• support countries that are particularly vulnerable, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, taking into account the regional challenges;
• strengthen case and contact identification and management;
• greatly enhance awareness and effective risk communication concerning MERS-CoV to the general public, health professionals, at-risk groups, and policy makers;
• strengthen intersectoral collaboration and information sharing across ministries and with relevant international organizations, especially with the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO);
• develop and disseminate advice regarding mass gatherings to prevent further spread of MERS-CoV;
• share information in a timely manner with WHO, in accordance with the International Health Regulations (2005).
Based on the Committee’s advice, and information currently available, the Director-General accepted the Committee’s assessment. She thanked the Committee for its work.
The WHO Secretariat will continue to provide regular updates to the Committee Members and Advisors. In view of the Committee’s concerns, the Emergency Committee will be reconvened in June 2014 or earlier if circumstances require.
As I said in my first post, this is a scathing criticism of how the Gulf monarchies, and especially the Saudis, have handled MERS so far. Perhaps the most serious part of the indictment is that they haven't told WHO what they're supposed to under the IHR. It's one thing to ignore the media and the public; it's another thing altogether to keep WHO in the dark.