Tuesday July 28, 2015
Please note there has not been a Public Health Emergency of International Concern declared under the International Health Regulations (2005) in relation to Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV). There have been no cases of MERS-CoV reported in New Zealand.
As of 21 July 2015, the WHO advised that there had been 1374 laboratory-confirmed cases of MERS-CoV globally, including at least 490 deaths, since the first cases were reported in September 2012. The WHO does not recommend the application of any travel or trade restrictions and considers screening at points of entry to be unnecessary at this time. All cases of MERS-CoV world-wide have had a history of residence in or travel to the Middle East (mainly Saudi Arabia), or contact with travellers returning from these areas, or can be linked to an initial imported case. There is no evidence of ongoing community transmission in any country and only occasional instances of household transmission.
The Ministry of Health is not currently requiring any additional screening or enhanced border measures for persons travelling to New Zealand from the Republic of Korea or the Middle East. The Ministry of Health is continuing to monitor the international situation closely and is keeping its website updated: http://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/diseases-and-conditions/middle-east-respiratory-syndrome-coronavirus-mers-cov
Health officials have revised the advice for border health protection officers who may be contacted about ill travellers with a travel history to the Middle East or the Republic of Korea. The case definition (appendix 2) has been updated. Click here to view the Risk Assessment Framework.
Ebola Update: please note that cases of Ebola are still being reported from Sierra Leone and Guinea. The Public Health Emergency of International Concern remains in force and the low level border screening of travellers entering New Zealand from these two countries continues. No new cases were reported from Liberia in the latest WHO report (22 July). Liberia is not experiencing widespread transmission so border screening for travellers from Liberia is not considered necessary. Since border screening began on 10 August 2014, 147 travellers have entered New Zealand from a country affected by Ebola. After Liberia was declared free of Ebola, border screening for travellers from Liberia stopped on 09 May 2015. Since that date, eighteen travellers have entered New Zealand within thirty days of being in an Ebola-affected country. Six of these travellers had been working for humanitarian aid organisations but none had contact with Ebola cases in the twenty-one days before returning to New Zealand. The remaining travellers worked in Guinea or Sierra Leone or had family there. No travellers had had any high-risk contacts and none required further monitoring.
Please do not hesitate to contact, Sally Giles (firstname.lastname@example.org) or JR Gardner (email@example.com) if you have any queries.