World Bulletin / News Desk
The number of people in Saudi Arabia to have dide from the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) coronavirus has risen to 66 since 2012 after two residents of the western city of Jeddah succumbed to the illness, the Saudi Health Ministry said Monday.
The two latest deaths have brought the total number of this year's MERS fatalities to nine, according to the ministry.
The first case of the virus was documented in September 2012. It has since spread throughout the region.
Along with Saudi Arabia, cases of MERS have so far been reported in Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Tunisia, Jordan and Oman.
According to the Health Ministry, a 70-year-old man died of the disease in Jeddah, while his son was found to have contracted the virus without showing any symptoms.
A second case involved a medical worker in the same city who tested positive for the virus, the ministry said.
Symptoms, which include a persistent fever and cough, are similar to those associated with the SARS virus.
MERS, for which no known cure is yet available, destroys the lungs and kidneys. It is presumed that long-term physical contact can lead to infection.
During a 2003 epidemic of SARS (an earlier form of coronavirus), more than 800 people – mostly from Asia – succumbed to the virus.Last Mod: 07 Nisan 2014, 14:53