Death toll rising: Foreigner dies of deadly MERS virus in Saudi Arabia
A foreigner has died from the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in Saudi Arabia, putting the nationwide death toll at 73.
The 55-year-old woman died after she contracted MERS in the capital Riyadh, the Health Ministry said on Friday without mentioning the foreigner’s nationality.
Late on Thursday, a 70-year-old Saudi woman was announced dead in the western city of Jeddah, where the virus has spread in recent weeks.
The ministry also reported six infections in Jeddah, increasing the number of those infected with the SARS-like virus to 218.
Reports said on Wednesday that four doctors in Jeddah’s King Fahd hospital resigned after refusing to treat patients suffering from MERS.
There are 243 laboratory-confirmed cases of MERS infection worldwide, of which 93 have proved fatal, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday.
MERS is a cousin of SARS. The 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 killed some 800 people in a 2003 epidemic.
In addition to Saudi Arabia, MERS has been reported in the Persian Gulf countries, France, Germany, Italy, Tunisia and Britain.
While no travel restrictions have been announced, the WHO has urged health authorities across the world to maintain vigilance.