WHO says deadly MERS virus does not constitute global emergency

LONDON Wed May 14, 2014 7:20am EDT

The Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) coronavirus is seen in an undated transmission electron micrograph from the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). REUTERS/National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases/Handout via Reuters

The Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) coronavirus is seen in an undated transmission electron micrograph from the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).

Credit: Reuters/National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases/Handout via Reuters

Related Topics

LONDON (Reuters) - 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 virus.

"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.

(Reporting by Kate Kelland, editing by Keith Weir)

FILED UNDER:
We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (2)
Yes, just because MERS is spreading out of the Middle East to the rest of the world, there’s nothing to be concerned about. Especially since later this year, millions of Moslems will travel to Saudi Arabia for the annual Hajj, and then return home to thir own nations enmasse. Nothing to see here, move along

May 14, 2014 8:35am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Prayermanthis wrote:
After knowing there is an out break, i really don’t see why you will have the people of Saudia Arabia get on a plane and travel to different countries spreading the virus. This is something that should be contain at home, all flights and travel should be cancel- there is childrens and older adults who immune systems isn’t strong enough to deal with these viruses; Why can’t we have someone with a brain who can make the right decisions for once in our lifetime?

May 14, 2014 9:11am EDT  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

Pictures