40 people have died caused by infection from the MERS virus. The latest were a 53 year old Saudi man, and a two-year-old boy in the Red Sea city of Jeddah.
Also reported were three new confirmed MERS infections, two men in Riyadh aged 66 and 69, and a foreign employee in the health sector in Hafr al-Batin in the east.
The total number of cased reported now stands at 77.
The World Health Organization has announced emergency meetings to be held this week. The disease had its beginnings in Saudi Arabia, and the majority of cases have come from the region. Cases in other countries appear to have been the result of infection passed from individuals who traveled to the area.
The WHO is expressing major concern because of the pilgrimage of tens of thousands coming to October’s hajj pilgrimage.
The first case of MERS, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus, was discovered in June of last year. It has the flu-like symptoms of SARS. The differences between the two, are that MERS also caused kidney failure, and the fatality rate is approximately 60 percent.
There have been cases in Jordan, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, while Britain, France, Italy, Tunisia and Britain have recorded transmission to patients who did not travel to the Middle East but had close contact with people who did.
The current World Health Organization global count, which does not include the latest deaths, stands at 77 cases and 40 deaths.
The WHO is hesitant to declare the possibility of a pandemic. Today, we know that MERS has claimed two more lives.
Alfred James reporting