For Only The Second Time, The WHO Has Called An Emergency Meeting About A Virus

MERS co v copyThe Middle East Respiratory Syndrome virus, MERS, or CoV

While the Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS CoV) hasn’t yet reached pandemic potential, the World Health organisation (WHO) is worried enough about the virus to call its second-ever emergency meeting.

The first emergency meeting happened in 2009 and the subject was the H1N1 bird flu virus, which sickened thousands. The meetings are part of a relatively new system called the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee, which was implemented after the SARS outbreak in 2002.

The talks will take place on Tuesday, July 9, and Thursday July 11, over a phone conference with experts from around the world. though the virus was first reported on back in September of last year, researchers still haven’t been able to figure out where it’s coming from and how it’s infecting humans.

80 people have been sickened and 45 have died, according to the latest numbers. Most cases are either in Saudi Arabia or in people who had recently visited. Researchers have seen limited human-to-human spread, as well.

During the meeting, researchers may decide to label the virus an “international health emergency,” according to the AFP. Experts are worried about the potential for spread during the annual Hajj pilgrimage — one of the world’s largest gatherings, taking place in Mecca and Medina.

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