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Homeland Security

Iran Press TV

MERS death toll reaches 115 in Saudi Arabia

Iran Press TV

Mon May 5, 2014 2:48PM GMT

The Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) has claimed three more lives in Saudi Arabia, raising the kingdom's death toll to 115.

The Saudi Health Ministry said on Monday that three people, a 45-year-old man and two women, aged 50 and 54, passed away on Saturday after contracting MERS in the city of Jeddah.

The respiratory disease also killed a 77-year-old man in the capital, Riyadh, on Friday, the ministry added.

Meanwhile, the number of MERS infections in Saudi Arabia has risen to 414 since the illness first appeared in the kingdom in September 2012.

The development comes as the United States on Friday confirmed the first case of MERS in the country while Egypt recorded its first infection last week after a person who had arrived from Saudi Arabia tested positive.

On April 21, Saudi Arabia dismissed Health Minister Abdullah al-Rabeeah from his post following a worrying surge of new MERS cases in the country.

Saudi authorities have come under fire for not having been transparent about the extent of the spread of the disease and the effectiveness of preventative measures in hospitals.

On April 23, the World Health Organization said it had offered to send international experts to Saudi Arabia to probe "any evolving risk" related to the transmission pattern of the deadly virus.

MERS is regarded as a deadlier but less transmissible cousin of the SARS virus, which first broke out in Asia in 2003 and infected more than 8,000 people.

In addition to Saudi Arabia, MERS has been reported in Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, France, Germany, Italy, Tunisia and Britain.

MR/AB/SS



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