The Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) is a strain of coronavirus that causes a viral respiratory illness called MERS. The disease was first reported in Saudi Arabia in September 2012. To date, several countries have reported MERS-CoV infections, including Malaysia and the Philippines from the Western Pacific Region. It is possible that further sporadic cases will occur in the Western Pacific Region among people returning from the Arabian Peninsula.
Heavy rains poured over Solomon Islands on 3-5 April 2014, and resulted to massive flooding in the capital city of Honiara and the rest of the Guadalcanal province. The disaster has left 23 people dead and thousands more affected with the loss of homes, livelihoods and basic infrastructures. The Government declared a state of emergency in Honiara and the rest of Guadalcanal province.
Health services delivery in affected areas are hampered. Health priorities include access to safe water and sanitation facilities, nutrition and food safety, maternal and child health services, mental health and psychosocial support, preventing the spread of communicable diseases as well as environmental sanitation.
Super typhoon Yolanda (international name Haiyan) hit the Philippines on 8 November 2013. Storm surges caused widespread flooding in coastal areas and brought damages to 41 provinces in many Regions in Central Philippines. The severely affected areas are Tacloban City, Leyte, and Northern Iloilo.
Many people living in these affected areas were injured and the devastating effects of this typhoon left already vulnerable health facilities damaged or completely destroyed. As a result, health services in the worst affected areas no longer exist or are severely stretched, with medical supplies in very short supply.
On 31 March, China notified WHO of the first human cases of avian influenza A(H7N9). Although human infections with other subgroups of H7 influenza viruses have occurred before, this is the first report of H7N9 cases in humans and causing severe illnesses. The Chinese government has heightened disease surveillance and it is likely that more cases will be identified. At this stage, there is no evidence of sustained human-to-human transmission. WHO is providing relevant information to governments and the general public through various communication channels, to ensure that information is available and necessary actions are taken to reduce risks associated with this virus.
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World Health Organization
Western Pacific Regional Office
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