Third meeting of WHO Emergency Committee says still no need for a Public Health Emergency of International Concern
The third meeting of the Emergency
Committee convened by the Director-
General under the International Health
Regulations (2005) [IHR (2005)] was
held by teleconference on Wednesday,
25 September 2013.
During the informational session, Kingdom
of Saudi Arabia and Qatar presented
on recent developments in their countries.
The WHO Secretariat provided an
update on epidemiological developments,
Hajj and Umrah and recent WHO activities
related to MERS-CoV.
reviewed and deliberated on the information
The Committee concluded that it saw
no reason to change its advice to the
Director-General. Based on the current
information, and using a risk-assessment
approach, it was the unanimous decision
of the Committee that the conditions
for a Public Health Emergency of International
Concern (PHEIC) have not at
present been met.
While not considering the events to
constitute a PHEIC, Members of the
Committee reiterated their prior advice
for consideration by WHO and Member
States and emphasized the importance
- Strengthening surveillance, especially
in countries with pilgrims participating in Umrah and the Hajj;
- Continuing to increase awareness
and effective risk communication concerning MERS-CoV, including with pilgrims;
- Supporting countries that are particularly
vulnerable, especially in Sub-
Saharan Africa taking into account the
- Increasing relevant diagnostic testing
l Continuing with investigative work,
including identifying the source of the virus and relevant exposures through
control studies and other research;
- Timely sharing of information in accordance
with the International Health
Regulations (2005) and ongoing active
coordination with WHO.
The WHO Secretariat will continue to
provide regular updates to the Members,
and currently anticipates reconvening
the Committee in late November 2013.
Any serious new developments may require
re-convening the Committee before
Latest laboratory-confirmed cases of MERS-CoV
As of 18 October the latest laboratory confirmed
case of Middle East respiratory
syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV)
is that of a 61-year-old man in Qatar
with underlying medical conditions
who was admitted to a hospital on 11
October 2013. At the time of writing
he was hospitalized in a stable condition.
The patient was tested positive for
MERS-CoV infection in Qatar and was
confirmed by the reference laboratory of
Public Health England.
According to WHO, preliminary investigations
revealed that the patient
had not travelled outside Qatar in the
two weeks prior to becoming ill. The
patient owns a farm and has had significant
contact with the animals, including camels, sheep and hens. Some of
the animals in his farm have been tested
and were negative for MERS-CoV.
Further investigations into the case and
the animals in the farm are ongoing.
Globally, from September 2012 to
date, WHO has been informed of a total
of 139 laboratory-confirmed cases of
infection with MERS-CoV, including
In Saudi Arabia, the latest cases include
two men aged 55 and 78, from
Riyadh region. They became ill at the
end of September 2013 and died in the
beginning of October 2013. Both the
patients were reported to have had no
contact to a known laboratory-confirmed
case with MERS-CoV.
of upload: 20th Nov 2013