[QODLink]
Middle East

MERS toll rises with new Saudi Arabia deaths

Death toll reaches 126, after five more die and 18 new cases are recorded with virus continuing to spread.

Last updated: 09 May 2014 05:50
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
A total of 463 people in the kingdom have been infected by the disease [AFP]

Saudi Arabia has announced five more deaths from the MERS coronavirus and 14 new infections, as it battles to contain the disease which has now killed 126 people in the country.

The World Health Organisation, after a five-day mission to Jeddah, pinpointed breaches in its "recommended infection prevention and control measures" as being partly responsible for an increase in infections in the city.

The disease, which first appeared in Saudi Arabia in September 2012, has now infected a total number 463 Saudis, accounting for the bulk of cases registered across the globe, according to the Ministry of Health.

The WHO said the recent increase in numbers of infections did not suggest a "significant change in the transmissibility of the virus".

"The majority of human-to-human infections occurred in health-care facilities," it said, adding that a quarter of all cases had been health-care workers and urged them to improve their knowledge and attitude about the disease.

It reiterated that there was no need to introduce special screening at points of entry, nor was there a need to restrict entry to the country.

Amid public disquiet about the spread of the virus, Saudi Arabia's acting health minister Adel Fakieh announced on Tuesday the sacking of the head of Jeddah's King Fahd Hospital, where a spike in MERS infections among medical staff sparked panic.

MERS is considered a deadlier but less-transmissible cousin of the SARS virus that erupted in Asia in 2003 and infected 8,273 people, nine percent of whom died.

There are no vaccines or antiviral treatments for MERS, a disease with a mortality rate of more than 40 percent that experts are still struggling to understand.

Some researchers think it may originate in camels.

287

Source:
Agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
As Western stars re-release 1980s charity hit, many Africans say it's a demeaning relic that can do more harm than good.
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Tokyo government claims its homeless population has hit a record low, but analysts - and the homeless - beg to differ.
3D printers can cheaply construct homes and could soon be deployed to help victims of catastrophe rebuild their lives.
Featured
Pro-Russia leaders' election in Ukraine's east shows bloody conflict is far from a peaceful resolution.
Critics challenge Canberra's move to refuse visas for West Africans in Ebola-besieged countries.
A key issue for Hispanics is the estimated 11.3 million immigrants in the US without papers who face deportation.
In 1970, only two mosques existed in the country, but now more than 200 offer sanctuary to Japan's Muslims.
Hundreds of the country's reporters eke out a living by finding news - then burying it for a price.