MERS outbreak becomes more urgent, WHO says

Wednesday, May 14, 2014
By Paul Martin

By Josh Levs, Elizabeth Landau and Ashley Hayes
CNN.com
Wed May 14, 2014

The spread of the potentially fatal Middle East respiratory syndrome has become more serious and urgent, the World Health Organization said Wednesday.

But it does not constitute a global health emergency at this point, a WHO committee determined.

Declaring an emergency is “a major act” that can “raise anxieties,” said Dr. Keiji Fukuda, the organization’s assistant director-general for health security.

Despite concerns about the syndrome, researchers have not found “any increasing evidence of person-to-person transmissibility,” he said.

MERS virus detected in U.S. Should you be worried about MERS?
There have been 571 confirmed cases of MERS, including 171 deaths, according to the World Health Organization. The number of countries with confirmed cases expanded to 18, with a case in the Netherlands.

Many of the cases are in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

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