Wednesday, November 20, 2013

MERS Death Toll Climbs in Saudi Arabia, Qatar

'Cough and Sneeze Etiquette' from the Saudi Ministry of Health
The Saudi Ministry of Health is reporting two more MERS infections in the Kingdom, including another death, and Qatar has announced that a previously reported victim has passed away.

The latest Saudi cases involve a 65 year old man who suffers from chronic medical problems and is hospitalized in intensive care. He is being treated in Riyadh but comes from the Jawf region, which is in the northern portion of the country.

The most recent Saudi fatality is a 73 year old woman in Riyadh who had several pre-existing health problems.

This brings the official total by the Saudi Health Ministry to 129 cases of MERS and 54 deaths from the virus in the Kingdom. There have been complaints about a lack of detailed and timely information from Saudi Health Officials, who have traditionally valued privacy over transparency.

MERS appears to have originated in Saudi Arabia and that country has seen the vast majority of cases since the virus was first identified last year. Research has shown that the disease may now have reached epidemic levels.

In the country of Qatar, one previously reported case has died and one has recovered, according to the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP).

The death was a foreign worker who had been exposed to farm animals and was reported ill on November 15 while a 45 year old from Doha has recovered from the illness and been released from the hospital.

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