Two more Saudis lose life to MERS deadly virus

Two more Saudis lose life to MERS deadly virus
Sun Apr 27, 2014 18:40:02

Two more Saudis have died from the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV), bringing the death toll from the infection to 94, Saudi Health Ministry says.

The ministry said on Sunday that a 63-year-old woman died on Saturday in the western city of Jeddah, while a 78-year-old man succumbed to the disease in the capital, Riyadh.

The total number of cases diagnosed since the virus first appeared in September 2012 has reached 323, representing the bulk of infections registered globally, the ministry added.

On April 21, Saudi Arabia dismissed Health Minister Abdullah al-Rabeeah from his post following a worrying surge of new MERS cases in the country.

Saudi authorities have come under fire for allegedly not being transparent about how far the disease has spread and how effective are the preventative measures in hospitals.

On April 23, the World Health Organization said it had offered to send international experts to Saudi Arabia to probe “any evolving risk” related to the transmission pattern of the deadly virus.

MERS is regarded a deadlier, but less transmissible cousin of the SARS virus which first broke out in Asia in 2003 and infected more than 8,000 people.

In addition to Saudi Arabia, MERS has been reported in Qatar, the UAE, France, Germany, Italy, Tunisia and Britain.

According to a study, the virus has been “extraordinarily common” in camels for at least two decades, and may have been passed directly from the animals to humans.

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