Jul 05, 2013
By Michael Kramer
The World Health Organization is concerned about a possible escalation in illnesses caused by the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus, or MERS-CoV.
The United Nations agency is going to convene an emergency committee to plan for a possible escalation.
Dr. Keiji Fukuda is the assistant director general for health security and the environment and says the move is a precautionary measure.
The rules that govern the establishment of the group came into force in 2007 — in the aftermath of the SARS epidemic, an illness caused by another coronavirus, which sickened more than 8,400 people around the world and killed more than 800.
There are 79 confirmed illnesses and 42 deaths so far caused by MERS.
The committee will convene by phone Tuesday and its early focus will be mainly on understanding the outbreak more thoroughly.