WHO says deadly MERS virus does not
constitute global emergency
Send a link to a friend
[May 14, 2014]
— Concern about the deadly new
Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) virus has "significantly
increased" but the disease does not yet constitute a global public
health emergency, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Wednesday.
The virus, which causes coughing, fever and
sometimes fatal pneumonia, has been reported in more than 500
patients in Saudi Arabia alone and has spread to neighboring
countries and in a few cases, to Europe and Asia. It kills about 30
percent of those who are infected.
The WHO's emergency committee, which met on Tuesday, said on
Wednesday that based on current information, the seriousness of the
situation had increased in terms of public health impact, but that
there is no evidence of sustained human-to-human transmission of the
"The committee concluded that the conditions for a Public Health
Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) have not yet been met,"
the WHO said in a statement.
MERS is a virus from the same family as SARS, or Severe Acute
Respiratory Syndrome, which killed around 800 people worldwide after
it first appeared in China in 2002.
[to top of second column]
(Reporting by Kate Kelland, editing by Keith Weir)
[© 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2014 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.