Saudi Arabia sets up expert advisory board to fight MERS

New Saudi Health Minister announces new team of 10 infectious disease experts in bid to limit MERS spread

Saudi Arabia announced on Monday that it has set up a health advisory board in a new effort to limit the spread of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).

According to the Saudi Press Agency, the new Saudi Health Minister, Adel bin Mohamed Faqih, has established a team consisting of 10 infectious disease specialists.

Saudi Arabia, where MERS was discovered around two years ago and which remains the country most affected, has now had 339 confirmed cases of MERS, of which 102 have been fatal

The 143 cases announced since the start of April represent a 73 percent jump in total infections in Saudi Arabia this month.

The advisory board's health professionals will be headed by Dr Professor Tariq Ahmed Madani, who was appointed special advisor to the Ministry last week.

Some of the board's responsibilities will include investigating the virus, writing and delivering reports on relative findings, advising the government regarding virus status as well as overseeing infected cases.

Faqih said in comments also cited by news agency WAM that the Ministry will continue in its efforts to fight the virus and limit its spread in the kingdom and elsewhere.

The government has dedicated three hospitals in Jeddah, Riyadh and in Dammam equipped to treat those infected with the disease in the kingdom

Earlier on Monday, Saudi Arabia confirmed 26 more cases of MERS, which has killed nearly a third of sufferers, and said 10 more people have died from the disease, pushing the total who have died over the 100 mark.

The confirmations follow Egypt's announcement on Saturday that it had confirmed its first case of MERS in a man who had recently returned to the country from Riyadh, where he was working.

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