(MENAFN - Arab News) The World Health Organization (WHO) reiterated in a statement Saturday that it would strengthen surveillance and increase awareness regarding MERS-CoV.
The statement was made at the conclusion of the fourth meeting of the Emergency Committee, which was convened by the WHO director general.
During the teleconference, the committee emphasized the need for further investigative studies on the deadly virus, including international case-control, serological, environmental and animal-human interface studies to better understand the risk factors and epidemiology of the virus.
The committee commended the extensive public health preparations made by the Kingdom during the previous Haj season to control the outbreak of MERS-CoV.
States that have been affected by the virus, namely, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and Spain, participated in the teleconference and presented the latest developments and measures taken by their governments to combat the virus.
Members of the emergency committee and two expert advisers also participated in the teleconference.
During the session, the WHO Secretariat provided an update and assessment of the epidemiological and scientific developments, including a description of cases over time, notable recent clusters and detection by polymerase chain reaction testing of MERS-CoV in camels and the public health preparation during the Haj pilgrimage.
The WHO maintained that the situation continues to be of concern in view of the ongoing cases and the new information about the presence of the virus in camels.
The committee asserted the need to support countries, which are vulnerable to the virus, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, taking into account regional challenges.
Members vowed to continue investigative work to identify the source of the virus and relevant exposure through case-control studies and research as well as sharing information in accordance with international health regulations and in active coordination with the WHO.
The committee decided to convene a meeting in March. However, it was also noted that any serious development might require calling for a meeting before that date.