MERS kills 3 more people in S Arabia, toll hits 105

MERS kills 3 more people in S Arabia, toll hits 105

Tue Apr 29, 2014 11:54PM GMT

The Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) has killed three more people in Saudi Arabia, increasing the kingdom’s death toll to 105.

The Saudi Health Ministry said on Tuesday that three men aged 56, 61, and 79 passed away in the capital Riyadh.

The ministry added that six new infections have brought the total number of cases diagnosed to 345. The deadly disease first emerged in the Saudi Arabia in September 2012.

Meanwhile, acting Saudi Health Minister Adel Fakieh said a group of Western experts and representatives of the World Health Organization (WHO) have held two days of meetings in the capital to discuss “a series of preventive measures… to contain the spread” of the disease.

“These measures will be announced in the coming days,” he stated.

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 not having been transparent about the extent of the spread of the disease and the effectiveness of preventative measures in hospitals.

On April 23, the WHO 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 United Arab Emirates, France, Germany, Italy, Tunisia and Britain.

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