WHO has published WHO statement on the Sixth Meeting of the IHR Emergency Committee concerning MERS-CoV. Excerpt:
The sixth meeting of the Emergency Committee convened by the Director-General under the International Health Regulations (2005) concerning Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) was held by teleconference on Monday, 16 June 2014, from 12:15 to 16:19 Geneva time (CEST).
In addition to Members of the Emergency Committee, three expert advisors participated in the informational session only. These advisors did not participate in the formulation of advice to the Director-General.
Seven affected States Parties reporting cases of MERS-CoV or evidence of infection since the fifth meeting of the Committee were also on the first part of the teleconference: Algeria, Iran, Jordan, Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE), and United States of America.
The WHO Secretariat provided an update on and assessment of epidemiological and scientific developments, including a description of recently reported cases, transmission patterns, and the main observations of a recent WHO mission to UAE.
Affected countries gave information about recent events in their countries, including description of cases, measures taken and their concerns about the current situation.
The Committee discussed the information provided. Based on current information, the Committee indicated that the situation remains serious in terms of public health impact. However, the upsurge in cases that began in April has now decreased and there is no evidence of sustained human-to-human transmission in communities. There have been significant efforts made to strengthen infection prevention and control measures.
As a result, the Committee unanimously concluded that the conditions for a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) have not yet been met.
However, the Committee emphasized that the situation continues to be of concern, especially given the anticipated increase in travel to Saudi Arabia related to Umra, Ramadan and the Hajj.
The Committee focused attention on the need to further analyse the hospital outbreaks to better understand where breaches in infection prevention and control are taking place, including where patients who have not yet received a diagnosis gather and wait, often under crowded conditions, such as in emergency departments and clinics.
The Committee also noted that recent investigative findings increasingly support the hypothesis that camels are an important source of exposure to MERS-CoV in the community.