Coronavirus will spread as long as natural host is unknown, say scientists

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: (Published 25 June 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f4083
  1. Owen Dyer
  1. 1Montreal

An emergency meeting of the World Health Organization in Cairo on 19 June has urged closer worldwide cooperation to combat the Middle Eastern respiratory syndrome coronavirus that has claimed 39 lives in eight countries,1 2 3 4 as fear grows that the upcoming Hajj to Mecca could spread the disease around the world.

“Fast and complete reporting of cases, with contact histories, clinical care and treatment outcomes in as much detail as possible, and collected in a uniform manner across countries, is necessary,” said a statement issued after the WHO meeting.

Meanwhile an international team of experts who tracked the path of contagion in Saudi Arabia has issued a report on the virus’s clinical features in the New England Journal of Medicine.5

Their report documents the first 23 cases in the outbreak in four hospitals in the eastern Saudi governorate of Al-Hasa. It noted striking similarities to the coronavirus that caused severe …

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