MERS virus not yet a worldwide health emergency: WHO

canada.com

By Maria Cheng

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

LONDON — The spread of a puzzling respiratory virus in the Middle East and beyond is not a global health emergency despite a recent spike in cases, the World Health Organization said Wednesday.

The decision was made after a meeting of WHO’s expert group on the Middle East respiratory syndrome, or MERS.

Since 2012, MERS has sickened more than 500 people and killed 145, mostly in the Middle East. The majority of cases have been in Saudi Arabia, although the disease has spread within the region and to Asia, North Africa, Europe and the United States.

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MERS often starts with flu-like symptoms but can lead to pneumonia, breathing problems and in severe cases, kidney failure and death.

“Calling a global emergency in a world which has a lot of issues is a major act,” said Dr. Keiji Fukuda, an…

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