UK & World News

  • 14 May 2014, 16:02

Middle East Virus Claims Five More Lives

Another five people have died in Saudi Arabia after contracting a potentially fatal virus that has affected hundreds within the kingdom.

The deaths from Middle East Respiratory Syndrome occurred in the capital, Riyadh, and the western cities of Jiddah and Medina, health authorities said.

Two of those who died were among eight new confirmed infections in the three cities - the other three had been previously diagnosed.

A total of 147 people have died and 491 have been confirmed to have contracted the virus in Saudi Arabia since it was discovered in 2012.

Earlier this week, US officials confirmed a second case of Mers in the country. The victim was a healthcare worker from Orlando, Florida, who was on holiday from Saudi Arabia.

An earlier, unconnected case was diagnosed in Indiana but the patient has now been sent home.

Mers is a member of the coronavirus family of viruses, which includes the common cold and Sars, which led to the deaths of around 800 people globally in 2003.

The symptoms for Mers include fever, breathing problems, pneumonia and kidney failure.

Scientists believe camels play a part in the spreading of the virus, which has an incubation period of around 14 days, although they do not know how.

The disease can then spread between people although it is likely to be only when they are in close contact with one another, such as between infected patients and health-care workers.

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