July 5, 2013 4:21 pm
Updated: March 23, 2014 1:54 pm

WHO setting up emergency panel to advise on MERS coronavirus


Above: The World Health Organization is forming an emergency committee of international experts to prepare for a possible worsening of the Middle East coronavirus.

The World Health Organization says it is setting up an emergency committee of experts to advise it on the evolving situation involving the MERS coronavirus.

A senior official with the Geneva-based global health agency says the committee will be drawn up of people with expertise in public health, infectious diseases, epidemiology and laboratory science.

Dr. Keiji Fukuda says there has been a steady drumbeat of new cases over the past three months and the WHO wants to be prepared in case the situation worsens.

He says between 12 and 15 people will be asked to sit on the committee, which will hold its first meeting on Tuesday.

One of the committee’s first tasks will be to consider whether the WHO should declare MERS a public health emergency of international concern under the International Health Regulations, a global health treaty.

In a change from past experience, the names of the experts will be made public, with the WHO promising to post the list on Monday.

© 2013 The Canadian Press

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