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In order to further improve the lines of communication and to respond to the concerns between the National VA Council and you our members, I have established a National VA Council Briefing. This NVAC Briefing will bring you the latest news and developments within DVA and provide you with the current status of issues this Council is currently addressing. I believe that this NVAC Briefing will greatly enhance the way in which we communicate and the way in which we share new information, keeping you better informed.

Alma L. Lee
National VA Council, President

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In This Briefing:   Situation Update:  MERS-CoV (Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome-Coronavirus)
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Please forward to colleagues as appropriate.

Colleagues,

Please find attached below the latest CDC information and recommendations on MERS-CoV (Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome-Coronavirus). This document provides background on the MERS-CoV, links to CDC case definitions and infection control guidance that can be found at http://emergency.cdc.gov/HAN/han00348.asp. The Office of Public Health has summarized key information and recommendations in this memo and will release future updates as appropriate.

Current Situation
1.     As of June 12, 2013, 58 laboratory-confirmed cases of MERS-CoV infection have been reported to WHO—many from Saudi Arabia and smaller numbers from France, Italy, Jordan, Qatar, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom (UK). Some of these clusters of infection have involved transmission of MERS-CoV to health care providers.
2.     No patients with MERS-CoV have been identified in the United States to date.
3.     Most of those infected developed severe acute respiratory illness with fever, cough, and shortness of breath; 32 of the 58 were fatal, for a case-fatality rate of 55%.
4.     There is clear evidence of limited human to human transmission.

Actions
1.     MERS-CoV should be considered as a possible cause in any patient with acute severe respiratory tract infection who has traveled from the Arabian Peninsula within 14 days prior to presentation.
2.     For any patient suspected of having MERS-CoV infection, the following are recommended:

    • In addition to Standard precautions, immediately place the patient in Contact and Airborne transmission-based precaution as recommended by CDC.
    • Efforts to minimize the number of health care providers caring for the patient should be considered.
    • Use eye protection as outlined in the interim MERS-CoV Infection Control CDC guidelines: http://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/mers/interim-recommendations-patients-2013.html .
    • Suspected/proven MERS-CoV infection should be reported to State and/or other external public health authorities in a manner consistent with existing infectious diseases reporting procedures.
    • Specimens for diagnostic testing should be obtained, handled and submitted according to State Health Department guidance on testing for MERS-CoV.
    • Notify facility and VISN leadership utilizing established reporting structures.

3.     Please forward this message to all key partners and colleagues as appropriate.
4.     Questions and concerns can be addressed to the Office of Public Health at publichealth@va.gov.

Additional Resources
1.    CDC – Overview of MERS at: http://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/mers/overview.html
2.   CDC  – MMWR Early Release (June 7th) at http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm62e0607a1.htm?s_cid=mm62e0607a1_w

Click here for PDF download: CDC HAN 348 MERS HAN 06 07 13 FINAL

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