AMMAN: A 69-year-old man has died in Jordan after being infected with the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) coronavirus, a health ministry official said yesterday. “The man, who suffered from diabetes and high blood pressure, died in hospital,” Sultan Kasrawi of the ministry’s communicable disease department, said.
Kasrawi said the latest death brings to six the number of fatalities in Jordan from MERS since it first emerged in 2012.
MERS is considered a deadlier but less transmissible cousin of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) virus that appeared in Asia in 2003 and killed hundreds of people, mostly in China.
Like SARS, it appears to cause a lung infection, with patients suffering coughing, breathing difficulties and a temperature. But MERS differs in that it also causes rapid kidney failure. MERS has killed 187 people in Saudi Arabia since it first emerged in 2012, and hundreds more have been infected.
Meanwhile, Algeria reported its first two cases of the deadly MERS virus, both among pilgrims returning from Saudi Arabia, where most cases and deaths from the disease have been reported. The two Algerian men, aged 66 and 59, had gone on a pilgrimage to Muslim holy sites in Saudi Arabia, Algeria’s health ministry said without giving further details about their condition. Other countries including Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Iran, the Netherlands, the UAE and the US have also recorded cases, mostly in people who had been to Saudi Arabia.AFP