Saudi announces new Mers deaths, bringing death toll to 173

Health ministry reported five new deaths since Sunday and said the total number of Mers cases in the kingdom had risen to 537.

RIYADH // Saudi health authorities on Monday reported new deaths from the Mers coronavirus, taking to 173 the overall number of fatalities from the disease in the world’s worst-hit country.

The health ministry said on its website that five people have died, including a 28-year-old woman in the port city of Jeddah, and a 32-year-old man in northern Tabuk.

A woman aged 69 died in Riyadh and a 55-year-old man died in the city of Mecca, home to Islam’s holiest site which is visited by millions of pilgrims each year.

A fifth man, 59, died on Sunday in the western city of Taif.

The ministry said the total numbers of infections had reached 537 cases.

Other nations including Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, the Netherlands, the United Arab Emirates and the United States have also recorded cases, mostly in people who had been to Saudi Arabia.

Mers is considered a deadlier but less transmissible cousin of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (Sars) virus that appeared in Asia in 2003 and infected 8,273 people.

Nine per cent of those infected died.

Like Sars, the disease appears to cause a lung infection, with patients suffering coughing, breathing difficulties and a temperature.

But Mers differs in that it also causes rapid kidney failure.

* Agence France-Presse

Published: May 19, 2014 04:00 AM

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