Saudi reports five new MERS deaths, taking toll to 92

April 26, 2014

The Saudi health ministry on Saturday announced five new deaths from the MERS coronavirus, taking the country's death toll to 92.

A statement released overnight added that 14 new cases of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome were detected in the kingdom, bringing the total to 313 since the virus first emerged there in September 2012.

Among the five who died were two elderly Palestinians and a Bangladeshi woman in her 40s, the statement said. The two other victims were Saudis.

Public concern over the spread of MERS mounted last week after the resignation of at least four doctors at Jeddah's King Fahd Hospital who refused to treat patients for fear of infection.

On Thursday King Abdullah visited the Red Sea city and commercial hub in a bid to reassure the public amid fears the virus had mutated to make it more transmissible from person to person.

National Guard Minister Prince Mitab said his father King Abdullah went to Jeddah "to reassure the public and to prove that the exaggerated and false rumours about coronavirus are not true."

"The MERS situation is reassuring and it has not reached the level of an epidemic," he said.

That did not stop the king from dismissing health minister Abdullah al-Rabiah on Monday without an official explanation.

Labour Minister Adel Fakieh, who has taken over as acting minister, has promised "transparency and to promptly provide the media and society with the information needed."

The World Health Organisation announced Wednesday that it had offered to send international experts to Saudi Arabia to investigate "any evolving risk" associated with the transmission pattern of the virus.

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

Explore further: Foreigner dies of MERS in Saudi, 8 infected

Related Stories

Foreigner dies of MERS in Saudi, 8 infected

April 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.

Two expats die of MERS in Saudi commercial hub

April 20, 2014

Two foreigners died of MERS in the Saudi city of Jeddah, the health ministry said Saturday, as fears rise over the spreading respiratory virus in the kingdom's commercial hub.

Saudi health minister sacked as MERS toll rises

April 21, 2014

Saudi Arabia dismissed its health minister on Monday just days after he visited a hospital at the centre of growing concerns about the kingdom's handling of the MERS virus.

Saudi announces 11 new MERS infections (Update)

April 23, 2014

Saudi Arabia on Wednesday announced 11 new cases of MERS, including a 13-year-old child, as its acting health minister vowed to keep the public better informed about the coronavirus.

Saudi MERS death toll now 87

April 25, 2014

Saudi Arabia announced Friday two more deaths from the MERS coronavirus, taking the country's toll to 87, a day after King Abdullah tried to reassure a worried public.

Recommended for you

Monkeys in Asia harbor virus from humans, other species

November 19, 2015

When it comes to spreading viruses, bats are thought to be among the worst. Now a new study of nearly 900 nonhuman primates in Bangladesh and Cambodia shows that macaques harbor more diverse astroviruses, which can cause ...

One-step test for hepatitis C virus infection developed

November 14, 2015

UC Irvine Health researchers have developed a cost-effective one-step test that screens, detects and confirms hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections. Dr. Ke-Qin Hu, director of hepatology services, will present findings at the ...

Computer model reveals deadly route of Ebola outbreak

November 10, 2015

Using a novel statistical model, a research team led by Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health mapped the spread of the 2014-2015 Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone, providing the most detailed picture to date ...


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.