WHO warns of Mideast virus threat to pilgrims

2014-06-17 21:44

(Shutterstock)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

Geneva - Efforts to prevent the spread of a dangerous virus need to be stepped up ahead of the start of the Muslim pilgrimage season, when millions of people from all over the world will travel to Saudi Arabia, the World Health Organisation said on Tuesday.

The UN health agency has recorded 701 confirmed cases and 249 deaths worldwide from the Middle East respiratory syndrome, the vast majority of them in Saudi Arabia, a senior WHO official said.

A recent surge, starting in April, and a belated admission by Saudi officials that they had undercounted the number of cases prompted concern about the kingdom's ability to prevent and monitor the spread of infections.

Dr Keiji Fukuda, WHO's assistant director-general, said the jump in cases appeared to have been caused by people mingling in hospitals before they were properly diagnosed and isolated, and has now ebbed thanks to better prevention efforts.

Fukuda said a WHO expert panel which conferred on Monday concluded that "the situation continues to remain serious".

But "we do not believe that esoteric or unusual means are needed", he said, noting that simple hand-washing is among the most effective prevention techniques.

Muslim pilgrims, particularly those with underlying medical problems, should be made aware of the threat, Fukuda said.

"The time to strengthen [prevention measures] is now because we are on the eve of the Umrah starting and in a few months the Hajj will be starting," he said, referring to two of the main Muslim pilgrimages.

Fukuda said much still needs to be learned about the virus, which is thought to be primarily acquired through contact with camels.

"The big gorilla in the room is always: does this virus have the potential to change and really become much more transmissible person to person," he said. "We still don't have a good handle on that."

- AP

Read more on:    saudi arabia  |  health
NEXT ON NEWS24X

SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
2 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Tuesday Dunoon - 17:44 PM
    Road name: N7 Northbound
    EARLIER ACCIDENT before the Potsdam Road exit has been cleared
  • Tuesday Strandfontein - 17:43 PM
    Road name: Strandfontein Road Southbound
    SLOW TRAFFIC between Pelikan Park and Spine Road
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2 TV Series for R250

Get 2 TV Series box sets for R250 and save up to R148! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Pre-order the Xbox One

Get this all-in-one entertainment system with live TV, movies, social networking and gaming. Pre-order now!

Up to 50% off hair care products!

Save up to 50% on professional hair care products at kalahari.com. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off academic books

Score a mind blowing 30% off academic books! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing deals on electronics!

Save up to 35% on electronics. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Nokia C3

The Nokia C3 Features a 2+ Megapixel Camera, A2DP, Bluetooth,...

From R1175.60

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

It may be hard to avoid an argument or heated conversation today. Someone may be stirring things up and testing your patience. ...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.