Saudi Arabia reports five new deaths from MERS (Update)

May 13, 2014
This undated file electron microscope image made available by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases - Rocky Mountain Laboratories shows novel coronavirus particles, also known as the MERS virus, colorized in yellow. Four more people have died in Saudi Arabia after contracting an often fatal Middle East respiratory virus as the number of new confirmed infections in the kingdom climbs higher, according to health officials. The Saudi health ministry said in a statement posted online late Wednesday, May 8, 2014 that 18 new confirmed cases of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome were reported in the capital Riyadh, the western cities of Jiddah, Mecca and Medina, and in the city of Najran, along the border with Yemen.(AP Photo/NIAID - RML, File)

Saudi health authorities reported another five deaths Tuesday from a potentially fatal Middle Eastern respiratory virus that has sickened hundreds in the kingdom.

The previous evening, they reported that the same number of victims had also died from the virus, known as the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome.

A total of 152 people have now died and 495 have been confirmed to have contracted the virus in Saudi Arabia since it was discovered in 2012. Most cases of the disease have been in the desert kingdom.

Four of those confirmed dead Tuesday were previously diagnosed with MERS in the western city of Jiddah. The fifth was one of four new MERS infections identified in the capital, Riyadh.

MERS is part of the coronavirus family of viruses, which includes the common cold and SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome, which killed some 800 people in a global outbreak in 2003. MERS can cause symptoms including fever, breathing problems, pneumonia and kidney failure.

Scientists believe camels likely play a role in initial infections. The disease can then spread between people, but typically only when they are in close contact with one another, such as with infected patients and health-care workers.

American health officials this week confirmed a second U.S. case of MERS. The virus was confirmed in a resident of Saudi Arabia who was visiting Florida. He is being treated in an Orlando hospital.

An earlier, unlinked U.S. patient diagnosed with MERS was released from an Indiana hospital late last week.

Related Stories

Saudi MERS death toll reaches 115

May 5, 2014

Saudi health authorities announced on Monday that the death toll from the MERS coronavirus has reached 115 since the respiratory disease first appeared in the kingdom in 2012.

Saudi Arabia urges MERS precautions around camels

May 11, 2014

Saudi Arabia on Sunday warned those dealing with camels to take precautions as the number of infections in the kingdom from a respiratory illness linked to the animals rises further.

Recommended for you

Experimental MERS vaccine shows promise in animal studies

July 28, 2015

A two-step regimen of experimental vaccines against Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) prompted immune responses in mice and rhesus macaques, report National Institutes of Health scientists who designed the vaccines. ...

Can social isolation fuel epidemics?

July 21, 2015

Conventional wisdom has it that the more people stay within their own social groups and avoid others, the less likely it is small disease outbreaks turn into full-blown epidemics. But the conventional wisdom is wrong, according ...

Lack of knowledge on animal disease leaves humans at risk

July 20, 2015

Researchers from the University of Sydney have painted the most detailed picture to date of major infectious diseases shared between wildlife and livestock, and found a huge gap in knowledge about diseases which could spread ...

IBD genetically similar in Europeans and non-Europeans

July 20, 2015

The first genetic study of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) to include individuals from diverse populations has shown that the regions of the genome underlying the disease are consistent around the world. This study, conducted ...

0 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.