The emergence of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Corona Virus (MERS-CoV) in the Middle East in 2012 was associated with an overwhelming uncertainty about its epidemiological and clinical characteristics. Once dromedary camels (Camelus dromedarius) was found to be the natural reservoir of the virus, the public health systems across the Arabian Peninsula encountered an unprecedented pressure to control its transmission. This view point describes how the One Health approach was used in Qatar to manage the MERS-CoV outbreak during the period 2012–2017. One Health focuses on the association between the human, animals and environment sectors for total health and wellbeing of these three sectors. To manage the MERS outbreak in Qatar through a One Health approach, the Qatar National Outbreak Control Taskforce (OCT) was reactivated in November 2012. The animal health sector was invited to join the OCT. Later on, technical expertise was requested from the WHO, FAO, CDC, EMC, and PHE. Subsequently, a comprehensive One Health roadmap was delivered through leadership and coordination; surveillance and investigation; epidemiological studies and increase of local diagnostic capacity. The joint OCT, once trained had easy access to allocated resources and high risk areas to provide more evidence on the potential source of the virus and to investigate all reported cases within 24–48 h. Lack of sufficient technical guidance on veterinary surveillance and poor risk perception among the vulnerable population constituted major obstacles to maintain systematic One Health performance.

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One health
Department of Virology

Farag, E, Nour, M., Islam, M.M., Mustafa, A., Khalid, M., Sikkema, R.S., … AlHajri, MM. (2019). Qatar experience on One Health approach for middle-east respiratory syndrome coronavirus, 2012-2017: A viewpoint. One health, 7. doi:10.1016/j.onehlt.2019.100090