At least five people have died in Saudi Arabia from a virus similar to the one that causes Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) , the country’s health ministry says.
According to a Wednesday statement cited by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA), the Saudi Health Ministry said the deaths took place in the eastern province of Ahsaa. Two more people were being treated for the virus, the ministry stated, adding that it was taking “all precautionary measures for persons who have been in contact with the infected people… and has taken samples from them to examine if they are infected.” The health ministry, however, did not release any information on the number of people who may have been exposed to the virus. The novel coronavirus, or hCoV-EMC, was first detected in mid-2012. The virus broke out in East Asia about a decade ago. So far, 16 people in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Germany, and Britain have died from the lethal disease. A total of 11 people have died from the virus in Saudi Arabia alone. The viruses cause common colds, pneumonia, and are also to blame for conditions such as SARS. In 2003, some 800 people died from SARS after it erupted in China.