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Thu 10 Apr 2014 01:33 PM

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Saudi MERS death toll rises to 67

57-year-old Saudi national is latest person to die from virus, with the kingdom recording 179 cases since 2012

Saudi MERS death toll rises to 67
(Photo for illustrative purpose only)

Saudi health authorities have announced another death in the kingdom from the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome – bringing the nationwide toll to 67, the Saudi Gazette reported.

The 57-year-old Saudi national had been suffering from chronic illnesses, the Health Ministry said.

It also said another two Saudis had been infected by the MERS virus – one a 51-year-old and the other a 90-year-old.

The latest figures bring to 179 the number of cases of MERS in Saudi Arabia since the virus first appeared in the Kingdom in September 2012.

However, Minister of Health Dr Abdullah Al-Rabeeah said the health situation regarding the virus was satisfactory.

The virus was initially concentrated in the Eastern Province but had now spread across more areas.

Eleven new cases were reported in the Jeddah in recent weeks, causing a wave of panic fuelled by rumors circulated on social networks, the Gazette reported.

Of the 11 victims, two died while six had since recovered and another three were undergoing treatment, according to the Health Ministry.

A nurse at King Abdel Aziz hospital had earlier tested positive for the virus but no other workers in that hospital were infected.

Three of the patients in Jeddah were health workers, including one of the two who died, prompting authorities to close the emergency department at King Fahd Hospital.

Patients were transferred to other hospitals while the department was disinfected in a process expected to take 24 hours, the ministry said on Tuesday.

The health authority assured the public that no other hospitals in Jeddah had recorded any cases and denied rumors that more than two deaths had occurred.

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