Saudi announces four new deaths from MERS virus

June 17, 2013

Four more people have died from the MERS virus in Saudi Arabia, bringing the death toll from the SARS-like virus in the kingdom to 32, the health ministry said Monday.

Two people died in the western city of Taif and the other two were pronounced dead in Eastern Province, where most cases have been registered, the ministry said on its website.

The ministry announced three more confirmed cases of people in Saudi Arabia infected with the virus, which the has dubbed the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus, or MERS.

One case of infection was in Eastern Province and another in the capital Riyadh, while the third was of a two-year-old boy in the western city of Jeddah who was suffering from a "chronic" .

The other two cases are of a 63-year-old woman suffering from several and a 42-year-old man with , it said.

The ministry said the total number of MERS infections in the kingdom now stood at 49, including the 32 fatalities.

The WHO said Monday 64 laboratory-confirmed cases of the disease had surfaced worldwide to date, including 38 deaths.

While most of the cases have been concentrated in Saudi Arabia, the virus has also spread in Jordan, Qatar and the .

Cases have also been found in France, Germany, Italy, Tunisia and Britain, though mainly concerning patients transferred there for care from the Middle East or who had travelled to the Middle East and become ill after they returned, WHO said.

In addition, there has been "limited local transmission" to people in those countries who had not been to the Middle East but who "had been in close contact with the laboratory-confirmed or probable cases," it added.

The virus is a member of the family, which includes the pathogen that causes (SARS).

SARS sparked global panic in 2003 after it jumped to humans from animals in Asia and killed some 800 people.

Like SARS, MERS appears to cause a lung infection, with patients suffering from a temperature, cough and breathing trouble. But it differs in that it also causes rapid kidney failure.

Scientists at the Erasmus medical centre in the Dutch city of Rotterdam have suggested that bats could be a natural source for the virus.

Health officials have expressed concern about the high proportion of deaths relative to cases, warning that MERS could spark a new global crisis if it mutates into a form that spreads more easily.

The WHO has so far refrained from advising special travel or trade restrictions to keep the virus from spreading, although it does urge countries and health care workers in particular to be vigilant and report any suspected cases.

Explore further: Saudi announces four new deaths from MERS virus (Update)

Related Stories

Saudi announces four new deaths from MERS virus (Update)

June 17, 2013
Four people have died from the MERS virus in Saudi Arabia, bringing the death toll from the SARS-like virus in the kingdom to 32, the health ministry said on its website Monday.

WHO says MERS virus death toll hits 33

June 14, 2013
The global death toll from the SARS-like virus MERS has risen to 33, after two new fatalities in Saudi Arabia, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday.

Elderly woman dies of SARS-like virus in Saudi

May 26, 2013
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.

New Saudi death from MERS virus

June 6, 2013
The Saudi health ministry on Thursday announced the death of one of its citizens in the eastern region of Al-Ahsaa after he contracted MERS, a SARS-like virus.

France reports new suspected cases of MERS virus

June 11, 2013
French medical authorities on Tuesday reported two new suspected cases of infection with the SARS-like virus MERS which has killed more than 30 people worldwide, the bulk of them in Saudi Arabia.

WHO raises MERS virus death toll to 31

June 7, 2013
The World Health Organization on Friday formally raised the global death toll from the SARS-like virus MERS to 31, after a new fatality in hard-hit Saudi Arabia.

Recommended for you

New insights into the world of trypanosomes

August 23, 2017
Single specimens of the vermicular pathogens causing sleeping sickness swim inside the gut of the tsetse fly between blood cells which the fly has ingested from an infected mammal. This is where they start their week-long ...

Survey of DNA fragments circulating in the blood suggests vast microbial diversity

August 23, 2017
A new survey of DNA fragments circulating in human blood suggests our bodies contain vastly more diverse microbes than anyone previously understood. What's more, the overwhelming majority of those microbes have never been ...

Study a breakthrough in understanding chronic pain in children

August 23, 2017
A University of Calgary psychologist who studies pediatric pain has made a breakthrough in understanding the cause of chronic pain in adolescents—by focusing on those recovering from major surgeries.

Scientists develop infection model for tickborne flaviviruses

August 22, 2017
National Institutes of Health (NIH) scientists have filled a research gap by developing a laboratory model to study ticks that transmit flaviviruses, such as Powassan virus. Powassan virus was implicated in the death of a ...

Zika virus stifles pregnant women's weakened immune system to harm baby, study finds

August 21, 2017
The Zika virus, linked to congenital birth defects and miscarriages, suppresses a pregnant woman's immune system, enabling the virus to spread and increasing the chances an unborn baby will be harmed, a Keck School of Medicine ...

Fatty liver can cause damage to other organs via crosstalk

August 21, 2017
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is increasingly common. Approximately every third adult in industrialized countries has a morbidly fatty liver. This not only increases the risk of chronic liver diseases such as liver cirrhosis ...

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.