Published — Sunday 24 November 2013
Last update 13 December 2013 10:40 pm
RIYADH: Another Saudi who had been infected with the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) virus has died, raising to 55 the number of deaths from the disease in the Kingdom, the Ministry of Health said on Sunday.
A statement posted on the ministry’s website said the latest fatality was a 37-year-old man in Riyadh.
According to the ministry’s count, some130 people had been diagnosed to have contacted the virus in Saudi Arabia since MERS was first detected in September 2012.
Worldwide, the total number of laboratory-confirmed MERS cases that were reported to the World Health Organization (WHO) is now 155, of which 64 have died.
Among the countries that have reported MERS cases or deaths were Qatar, Tunisia, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, France, Germany, Italy and Britain.
Researchers have earlier said the virus may have been passed on to humans by infected camels or bats, but more studies are being conducted to confirm earlier findings.
The new virus is related to SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome, which killed some 800 people in a global outbreak in 2003. It belongs to a family of viruses that most often causes the common cold.
It emerged in the Middle East and can cause rapid kidney failure but doesn’t seem as infectious as SARS.