Elderly woman dies of SARS-like virus in Saudi

An 81-year-old woman who had contracted a SARS-like coronavirus has died in Saudi Arabia, raising the death toll in the kingdom to 18, the health ministry said in a statement on Sunday.

"An 81-year-old woman who was suffering from kidney failure as well as other chronic illnesses has died" in the eastern Al-Ahsaa region of oil-rich Saudi Arabia after contracting the virus, it said.

Saudi Arabia counts by far the most cases, with 30 confirmed infections and 18 fatalities, while cases have also been detected in Jordan, Qatar, Tunisia, the , Germany, Britain and France.

So far, there have been 44 lab-confirmed cases worldwide of the virus, which until now has been known as the novel coronavirus, or nCoV-EMC, but was this week redubbed the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus, or MERS.

In Saudi Arabia most cases have been registered in the kingdom's east, with the health ministry saying that most of those who died were "elderly people with ".

However, since May 18, no new cases have been registered in Al-Ahsaa while nine people who had been infected have now been cured, the ministry added.

The said on Friday that much uncertainty remained surrounding MERS, stressing that it aimed to work closely with Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and perhaps other Middle Eastern countries to determine how great the risk is.

Saudi Arabia had announced it would send samples taken from animals possibly infected with a deadly SARS-like virus to the United States for testing in a bid to find the source of disease.

The virus is a cousin of (SARS), which triggered a scare 10 years ago when it erupted in east Asia, leaping to humans from animal hosts and eventually killing some 800 people.

Like SARS, the appears to cause an infection deep in the lungs, with patients suffering from a temperature, cough and breathing difficulty, but it differs from SARS in that it also causes rapid .

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

SARS-like virus claims new life in Saudi

May 22, 2013

A man who had contracted the coronavirus has died in Saudi Arabia, raising the death toll in the kingdom from the SARS-like virus to 17, the health ministry announced on its website on Wednesday.

SARS-like virus claims new life in Saudi

May 20, 2013

A Saudi man who had contracted the coronavirus has died, raising the death toll in the kingdom from the SARS-like virus to 16, the health ministry announced on Monday on its Internet website.

SARS-like virus kills two more in Saudi

May 06, 2013

A new SARS-like virus has killed two more people in Saudi Arabia, taking the number of deaths from the coronavirus that the kingdom has announced to seven in one week, the health ministry said.

Saudi detects four new SARS-like cases

May 14, 2013

Four more cases of the deadly coronavirus have been detected in Saudi Arabia, the health ministry said, raising the number of people infected from the SARS-like virus in the kingdom to 28, including 15 fatalities.

Saudi detects six new SARS-like cases

May 14, 2013

Saudi Arabia has detected six new cases of the deadly coronavirus, the health ministry said, raising the number of people infected from the SARS-like virus in the kingdom to 30, half of them fatalities.

Recommended for you

Ebola: timeline of a ruthless killer

4 hours ago

Here are key dates in the current Ebola epidemic, the worst ever outbreak of the haemorrhagic fever which first surfaced in 1976 in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Ebola reveals shortcomings of African solidarity

Jan 31, 2015

As Africa's leaders meet in Ethiopia to discuss the Ebola crisis, expectations of firm action will be tempered by criticism over the continent's poor record in the early stages of the epidemic.

Second bird flu case confirmed in Canada

Jan 30, 2015

The husband of a Canadian who was diagnosed earlier this week with bird flu after returning from a trip to China has also tested positive for the virus, health officials said Friday.

What exactly is coronavirus?

Jan 30, 2015

The conflicts in Syria and Iraq are straining public health systems and public health efforts meant to prevent and detect the spread of infectious diseases. This is generating a "perfect storm" of conditions for outbreaks. Among the infections raising concern is Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, caused by a type of coronavirus, which emerged in 2012. ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.