Foreigner dies of MERS in Saudi Arabia (Update)

A foreigner has died from MERS in the western Saudi city of Jeddah, where authorities have sought to calm fears over the spreading respiratory illness, the health ministry said Monday.

The death of the 70-year-old man brought the toll of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome in the most-affected country to 69 fatalities. Four new cases of infection were registered, bringing the kingdom's total to 194, the ministry said.

It did not disclose the man's nationality.

Last week panic over the spread of MERS among medical staff in Jeddah had caused a temporary closure of an emergency room at a main hospital, prompting a visit by Health Minister Abdullah al-Rabiah aimed at reassuring an anxious public.

Rabiah briefed the cabinet on Monday following his visit to hospitals in Jeddah over the weekend.

"The situation concerning the coronavirus is reassuring," a government statement said following the meeting.

The was initially concentrated in the eastern region but has now spread across other areas.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) said Friday that it had been told of 212 laboratory-confirmed cases of MERS infection worldwide, of which 88 have proved fatal.

The MERS virus is considered a deadlier but less-transmissible cousin of the SARS virus that erupted in Asia in 2003 and infected 8,273 people, nine percent of whom died.

Experts are still struggling to understand MERS, for which there is no known vaccine.

A recent study said the virus has been "extraordinarily common" in camels for at least 20 years, and may have been passed directly from the animals to humans.

But the Saudi minister warned against assuming that camels were behind the virus, insisting in remarks published by Makkah daily on Monday that "one should not jump to conclusions."

"Saudi hospitals did not deal with a single case of infection that involved contact with the animal," he said.

His statement appeared in contrast with an announcement by his ministry on November 11, which said that a camel became the first animal to test positive in "preliminary laboratory checks."

The ministry said at the time that the camel was owned by a person diagnosed with the disease.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Foreigner dies of MERS in Saudi, 8 infected

Apr 13, 2014

A foreigner has died from MERS while eight people including five health workers have been infected in the Saudi city of Jeddah, where the spread of the coronavirus among medics has sparked panic.

Saudi MERS death toll rises to 66

Apr 07, 2014

Saudi health authorities have reported the deaths of another two men from the MERS coronavirus, bringing the death toll from the respiratory disease in the worst hit country to 66.

Filipino paramedic dies of MERS in UAE

Apr 11, 2014

The United Arab Emirates announced Friday that one of six Filipino paramedics in the UAE who have been infected by the MERS coronavirus has died from the respiratory disease.

Recommended for you

Women with endometriosis need support, not judgement

2 hours ago

Known for years as the "career woman's disease" based on the idea that women without children develop disease in their reproductive organs, endometriosis is a painful condition thought to affect one in ten wome ...

Global Ebola conference seeks end to W.Africa outbreak

7 hours ago

Leaders of Ebola-hit countries in west Africa will attend an international conference in Brussels Tuesday to mobilise a final push to end the outbreak and ensure the delivery of nearly $5 billion in aid pledges.

High prevalence of HCV in baby boomers presenting to ER

16 hours ago

(HealthDay)—The prevalence of unrecognized chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) is high among baby boomers presenting to the emergency department, according to a study published online Jan. 28 in Hepatology.

The hidden burden of dengue fever in West Africa

17 hours ago

Misdiagnosis of febrile illnesses as malaria is a continuing problem in Africa. A new study shows that in Ghana, dengue fever is circulating in urban areas and going undiagnosed. The authors of the study hope to use the findings ...

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.