Calling it a “threat to the entire world,” the head of the World Health Organization sounded the alarm over the Middle Eastern virus that has so far killed 24 people.
Speaking on Monday in Geneva at the global health monitor’s annual conference, Dr. Margaret Chan did not mince words about the SARS-like novel coronavirus that researchers call MERS.
“Looking at the overall global situation, my greatest concern right now is the novel coronavirus. We understand too little about this virus when viewed against the magnitude of its potential threat. Any new disease that is emerging faster than our understanding is never under control,” Dr Chan said. “These are alarm bells and we must respond. The novel coronavirus is not a problem that any single affected country can keep to itself or manage all by itself. The novel coronavirus is a threat to the entire world.”
One day after Chan’s speech, health officials in France announced the death of a 65-year-old man who had apparently contracted the MERS virus after traveling to Dubai.
So far, the WHO says that more than half of the people who have been diagnosed with MERS have died. The organization said that 24 of 44 confirmed MERS cases have ended in death.