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Caution Over New MERS Virus Warranted

Noting that WHO Director-General Margaret Chan recently “named the Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus — MERS-CoV or MERS for short — the greatest threat to world health today,” Laurie Garrett, a senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations, writes in a CNN opinion piece, “But Hong…

MERS Virus Spreads To Italy, Kills 3 More In Saudi Arabia

“On Friday, Italy’s health ministry reported its first case of [Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV)] was contracted by a 45-year-old man who returned from a trip to Jordan where he visited his son, who had the ‘flu,'” GlobalPost reports (Mattson, 5/31). “The patient was in good condition and was…

Obama Administration Says MERS-CoV Poses Public Health Threat

“The Obama administration on Tuesday designated a respiratory disease now found in the Middle East a threat to public health and national security,” The Hill’s “Healthwatch” blog reports (Wilson, 6/4). According to CIDRAP News, Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius made the designation in a May 29…

Disease Outbreaks In Syria ‘Inevitable,’ WHO Warns

“Outbreaks of hepatitis, typhoid, cholera or dysentery are ‘inevitable’ in Syria and its neighbors this summer, while cases of measles and other infections are already growing because of the country’s broken health system and increasing numbers of displaced people, the [WHO] has warned,” The Guardian reports (Meikle, 6/4). “Almost 4.25…

TEDMED Conference Speaker Highlights Key Actions To Stop Pandemics

“Some 2,000 health professionals and thought leaders from all sectors of society are attending TEDMED at the Kennedy Center [in Washington, D.C.,] this week for a series of talks [focusing on medical technology and health care], which are also being televised in more than 80 countries,” CNN reports. The news service profiles…

Editorials Address China’s Response To Emergence Of H7N9 Bird Flu Strain

The following is a summary of editorials addressing China’s response to the emergence of a new strain of bird flu, H7N9. Bloomberg Businessweek: “The H7N9 strain contains gene sequences that make it relatively effective, for a bird virus, at infecting humans and other mammals,” Bloomberg writes. However, “[t]his is no reason to…

Number Of H7N9 Cases Surpasses 100; U.S. CDC Warns Physicians To Be Vigilant

“The number of bird flu cases in China jumped Sunday to 102, including 20 deaths, the World Health Organization announced,” CNN reports, noting 70 patients remain hospitalized with the new H7N9 avian flu strain and the “WHO said there is still no evidence of human-to-human transmission” (Gray/Armstrong, 4/22). “‘Until the…

World Must Be Better Prepared For Potential Pandemics

“In China an influenza virus never before seen in people had, as The Economist went to press, infected at least 82 and killed 17. Meanwhile a new type of coronavirus, the family that brought severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), is festering in the Middle East,” an editorial in the magazine…

WHO Research Team Still Unsure Of H7N9 Transmission Routes

The WHO “has only a limited understanding of a deadly new form of avian flu that has killed 20 people and infected more than a hundred others, a team of researchers said on Monday, leaving unclear how the disease spreads and how virulent it could become,” the Wall Street Journal…