Saudi Arabia’s Health Ministry announces another death from the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), taking the overall death toll to 169.
The ministry said on Monday that a 59-year-old man had died of MERS-CoV in the city of Taif a day earlier.
It also recorded two new cases of infection, one in the capital, Riyadh, and another in Jeddah, raising the overall number of cases to 531 since the illness first appeared in the kingdom in 2012.
It came only days after the World Health Organization (WHO) said the spread of the disease has become more serious, but does not yet constitute a global health emergency. The WHO also asked governments to make sure the necessary measures were implemented in all healthcare facilities in order to contain the infection.
MERS is a cousin of SARS. The former virus first emerged in the Middle East and was discovered in September 2012 in a Qatari man who had traveled to Saudi Arabia. The virus, which causes coughing, fever and pneumonia, does not appear to be as contagious as SARS, which infected some 8,273 people and killed about 10 percent of them.
In addition to Saudi Arabia, which is hit by the virus the worst, MERS has been reported in 16 other countries including some Persian Gulf states, France, Germany, Italy, Tunisia and Britain.