Post-Hajj Preparedness for MERS-CoV

Post Hajj Prepar 2


Improving post-Hajj preparedness and response efforts in Jordan to control cases of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV).


The Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) is a viral respiratory illness that was first reported from a novel coronavirus (CoV) in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) in September 2012. Illnesses associated with infection from this virus originated in areas of the Arabian Peninsula and have been occurring since April 2012. As of May 2014, a total of 636 laboratory confirmed cases, including 193 deaths of MERS-CoV infection have been reported and confirmed by the World Health Organization (WHO). The majority of the cases resided in or recently travelled to KSA, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Qatar, or Jordan.

Experiences in the last decade have demonstrated the importance of enhanced disease surveillance systems that would allow rapid information sharing within countries and across borders. Specifically, strengthening laboratories and laboratory networks is critical in order to detect and respond to outbreaks, to support surveillance, and to improve knowledge on transmissibility. Infection control practices must be on par with international standards and isolation and quarantine guidelines for infection control and should be stressed constantly in all health sectors. In collaboration with Ministries of Health and other in-country stakeholders, EMPHNET aims to enhance preparedness and response efforts by training the public health workforce and integrating these efforts into national public health systems.

While EMPHNET is focusing in particular on MERS-CoV control, its efforts also encompass other priority emerging and re-emerging diseases in the EMR. EMPHNET activities aim to investigate all aspects of MERS-CoV cases and other re-emerging infections at the regional level, and then to identify local and sustainable solutions for improving biorisk management practices for control of these emerging pathogens.


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This project is part of a cooperative agreement between EMPHNET and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). EMPHNET is working in partnership with Jordan’s Ministry of Health (MOH) to conduct a workshop and to establish a model site at the Zarqa Hospital.

Project Approach

EMPHNET is working to support the implementation of a post-Hajj preparedness study for MERS-CoV in Jordan. EMPHNET will share with the results of the study with the relevant authorities at the national and regional level so that the information can be used for decision-making, policy revision and improved regional capabilities. In addition, EMPHNET will support Jordan’s Ministry of Health (MOH) in conducting a training workshop on data collection, the collection of naso-pharyngeal samples, and testing of laboratory specimens. These efforts will be facilitated through the establishment of a model site for severe acute respiratory-tract infections (SARI) surveillance at the Zarqa Hospital.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2015. Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).

World Health Organization. 2015. Global Alert and Response (GAR): Coronavirus infections.