Riyadh: Health authorities in Saudi Arabia yesterday announced the deaths of another three people from the MERS respiratory virus, taking the country’s toll to 160.
The health ministry’s daily bulletin on the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome outbreak in the Gulf nation said the latest people to die were two women aged 72 and 54 and a 63-year-old man.
World Health Organisation said on Wednesday that while concern about the virus had “significantly increased”, the disease was not yet a global health emergency. Of the new cases, three had died.
The rate of infection in Saudi has surged in recent weeks after big outbreaks associated with hospitals in Jeddah and Riyadh. The total number of infections nearly doubled in April and has risen by a further 25 percent already in May.
The recent upsurge is of concern because of pilgrims from around the world expected in July during Ramadan.
Scientists around the world have been searching for the animal source, or reservoir, of MERS virus infections since the first human cases were confirmed in September 2012.