Friday, December 6, 2013

Tracking the MERS-CoV Outbreak

The World Health Organization (WHO) is charged with tracking outbreaks of novel diseases around the world. For novel disease outbreaks such as H5N1, H7N9, SARS, Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV),  etc., WHO does report cumulative updates of the counts and locations of cases providing that the member states comply with International Health Regulations (IHR) about timely reporting of cases.

However, WHO does not provide a publicly available line list of cases of these novel disease outbreaks.  Such line lists of cases with epidemiological and geographic information help researchers and the general public assess the potential danger of these novel outbreaks.   Through December 2, 2013, more than 170 confirmed and probable human cases of  MERS-CoV have been reported from 11 countries including France, Italy, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Tunisia,  the  United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom. Members of have been compiling a line list of confirmed MERS-CoV cases since early in 2013.[1]

I have posted a concordance list of the WHO confirmed cases with the individually reported and tracked MERS-CoV cases by FluTrackers members at this link.[2] This concordance list provides a basis for the general public to obtain more detailed information about individual cases in order to assess for themselves the nature and geographic distribution of this novel coronavirus.

[1] 2012/2013 Case List of MoH/WHO Novel Coronavirus nCoV Announced Cases

[2] WHO MERS-CoV Case Concordance List (as of December 2, 2013)