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WHO Urges Health Workers To Be On Alert For Symptoms Of MERS Virus, Warns Of Pandemic Potential

The WHO “on Monday urged health workers around the world to be on the alert for symptoms of the deadly Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS), which has the potential to circle the globe and cause a pandemic,” Reuters reports (Nebehay, 6/10). “Monday’s warning comes at the end of a six-day WHO investigation in Saudi Arabia, where 40 of the 55 cases of the respiratory disease have occurred,” NPR’s “Shots” reports, noting, “Sixty percent of those people with known infections died” (Knox, 6/10). “The United Nations agency is concerned that the MERS virus might spread among pilgrims expected to visit holy sites in Saudi Arabia next month during Ramadan, or the millions more expected in October for the annual Hajj to Mecca,” VOA News notes (6/10). However, “[t]here is no evidence of widespread person-to-person transmission of the [virus], the [WHO] said Monday,” according to Xinhua (6/10). A WHO news release outlines three main epidemiological patterns of the virus and discusses the global response to the virus so far (6/10).