By Courtney Trenwith
Saudi health ministry issues new warning after a dozen MERS cases were reported last week, bucking recent trend
A sudden rise in cases of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) has led the Saudi Arabian health ministry to issue a new alert for residents to be vigilant.
Twelve infections of the potentially deadly virus were recorded between May 10-16, the ministry said.
While the figure is far lower than a surge recorded during April and May last year, it follows a declining trend since mid-2014.
“This suggests that the alert against the virus should continue and cooperation from people and health workers is needed,” the ministry said in a statement reported by Arab News.
About 1000 people have been diagnosed with MERS in the kingdom since it was first detected in September 2012, with more than 430 people dying.
The World Health Organization warned in February the virus – believed to have come from camels - would likely spread between humans if Saudi Arabia did not improve its detection and control measures.
The kingdom has replaced its health minister twice since the MERS outbreak.
Saudi authorities has appealed to people to take precautionary measures and avoid eating camel meat or drinking camel milk, or at least ensuring it is cooked thoroughly.