Arabia Reports 10 More Deaths From MERS Virus, 20 Other Cases
Send a link to a friend
[May 15, 2014]
DOHA (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia said
that 10 more people infected with Middle East Respiratory Syndrome
(MERS) had died over the last two days and identified 20 new cases of
the virus, pushing the total number of infections in the country to 511.
Five of the deaths were reported on Tuesday and five on Wednesday,
according to statements on the health ministry's website.
They took the death toll in Saudi Arabia to 157 since MERS, a
coronavirus like Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), was
identified two years ago.
The World Health Organisation said on Wednesday that while concern
about the virus had "significantly increased", the disease was not
yet a global health emergency.
Of the 16 new cases identified on Wednesday, two had died. Of the
four cases identified on Tuesday, one had died, the ministry said.
SARS which killed around 800 people worldwide after emerging in
China in 2002. It can cause coughing, fever and pneumonia, and there
is no vaccine or anti-viral treatment against it.
The rate of infection in Saudi Arabia has surged in recent weeks
after big outbreaks associated with hospitals in Jeddah and Riyadh.
The total number of infections nearly doubled in April and has risen
by a further 25 percent already in May.
The recent upsurge is of particular concern because of the influx of
pilgrims from around the world expected in July during the Muslim
fasting month of Ramadan.
[to top of second column]
Scientists around the world have been searching for the animal
source, or reservoir, of MERS virus infections ever since the first
human cases were confirmed in September 2012.
(Reporting by Amena Bakr; Editing by Yara Bayoumy and John
[© 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2014 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.