Published — Monday 20 May 2013
Last update 26 May 2013 6:42 am
JEDDAH: One of the patients being treated at a hospital in Al-Ahsa for coronavirus infection has died, bringing the total number of deaths in the kingdom to 16, the Ministry of Health said on Monday.
In a statement posted on its website, the MOH the latest fatality was "suffering from chronic heart diseases, diabetes and high blood pressure, in addition to kidney failure."
On a brighter note, the MOH said one of the health workers who was being treated for the infection has recovered and released from the hospital.
Saudi Arabia remains the center for the new respiratory virus as investigators from the World Health Organization (WHO) seek more clues about its origins and how it is spread.
Known as novel coronavirus, or nCoV, the new virus is from the same family as those that cause common colds and the one that caused the deadly outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) that emerged in Asia in 2003.
Since September 2012, the WHO has been informed of 41 confirmed cases of the virus worldwide, of which 21 people have died.
Apart from Saudi Arabia, nCov cases were also found in France, Germany, Britain, Jordan, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Of those infected in Saudi Arabia, two were health workers who caught the virus from patients in their care — the first evidence of such transmission within a hospital, the WHO earlier said.
Most of the infections in the kingdom were in Al-Ahsa and a few were reported in Jeddah and Riyadh, said the MOH.
The latest to be diagnosed in the kingdom with nCov was an 81-year-old woman, who taken ill on April 28, 2013 and is currently in critical but stable condition.
A WHO statement, quoting a Saudi MOH report, said the patient has multiple coexisting medical conditions.
— Additional input from The Associated Press