IHR EC: No evidence of sustained
The National IHR (International Health
Regulations) Focal Point of Saudi Arabia
reported 7 additional laboratory-confirmed
cases – including one death - of infection
with Middle East respiratory syndrome
coronavirus (MERS-CoV) between 29
September and 11 October 2014 to WHO.
WHO said the tracing of household
contacts was ongoing for these cases.
In addition, the deaths of 4 previously
reported MERS-CoV cases from Saudi
Arabia were also reported.
Cases identified in KSA following a
Following a retrospective review of
laboratory records in non-Ministry of
Health hospitals, the National IHR Focal
Point of Saudi Arabia has also reported 19
additional cases of MERS-CoV infection,
including 11 deaths.
Of the additional
cases, 1 occurred in August 2013, 2
occurred in March 2014, 10 occurred in
April 2014 and 6 occurred in May 2014.
Of the additional cases reported by
Saudi Arabia, 79% (15 people) are Saudi
nationals. Sixteen of the reported cases
resided in Jeddah, 2 in Kharj and 1 in
Dhahran. The median age is 56 years
(ranging from 27 to 89), 68% (13/19) were
men, and 11% (2/19) of the reported cases
were health care workers.
The retrospective identification of
these 19 cases does not alter the pattern
and dynamic of the epidemic and the
global risk assessment remains unchanged,
according to WHO.
As of October 18, globally, 877 laboratory confirmed
cases of infection with MERSCoV
including at least 317 related deaths
have been reported to WHO.
Based on the current situation and available
information, WHO encourages all Member
States to continue their surveillance for
acute respiratory infections and to carefully
review any unusual patterns.
Until more is understood about MERS-CoV, people with diabetes,
renal failure, chronic lung disease,
and immunocompromised persons are
considered to be at high risk of severe
disease from MERS-CoV infection.
Therefore, these people should avoid
close contact with animals, particularly camels, when visiting farms, markets,
barn areas where the virus is known to be
General hygiene measures such as
regular hand washing before and after
touching animals and avoiding contact
with sick animals, should be adhered to.
Food hygiene practices should be
observed. People should avoid drinking raw
camel milk or camel urine, or eating meat
that has not been properly cooked.
Seventh Meeting of
the IHR Emergency
The seventh meeting of the
Emergency Committee (EC)
convened by the Director-General
under the International Health
Regulations (IHR 2005) regarding
the Middle East respiratory syndrome
coronavirus (MERS-CoV) was
conducted with members and
advisors of the Emergency Committee
through electronic correspondence
from 26 September 2014 through 30
The Committee noted that:
(i) there have been significant
efforts made to strengthen infection
prevention and control measures,
with an epidemiological situation
that has not changed since the 6th
meeting of the IHR EC;
(ii) the number of cases has fallen
since the April upswing, and cases
continues to appear sporadically with
no evidence of sustained human-tohuman
transmission in communities;
(iii) although transmission in
healthcare settings is still occurring
in small clusters, transmission seems
(iv) activities conducted to reduce
the international spread of MERSCoV
seem to be effective; and (v) the
current data suggest that MERS-CoV
transmission could be seasonal, with
an upsurge expected next spring.
Infection prevention and control
measures are critical to prevent
the possible spread of MERS-CoV
in healthcare facilities. It is not
always possible to identify patients
with MERS-CoV early because like
other respiratory infections, the
early symptoms of MERS-CoV are
non-specific. Therefore, healthcare
workers should always apply standard
precautions consistently with all
patients, regardless of their diagnosis.
Droplet precautions should be
added to the standard precautions
when providing care to patients
with symptoms of acute respiratory
infection; contact precautions and
eye protection should be added when
caring for probable or confirmed
cases of MERS-CoV infection; airborne precautions should be applied when
performing aerosol generating procedures.
of upload: 14th Nov 2014