Outbreak fears as two die from deadly coronavirus with higher mortality rate
MERS: WHO shares details on Middle East respiratory syndrome
Two people have died after contracting a highly deadly type of coronavirus, health officials have warned.
The Ministry of Health of KSA reported two deaths out of three additional cases of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS).
The unnamed men, aged 42 and 85, were diagnosed with the disease in Saudi Arabia in November 2022 and January 2023, respectively, the World Health Organisation (WHO) reported.
Local health officials said another man, aged 83, tested positive for the deadly condition in December 2022, but survived.
All three of the cases were identified in non-healthcare workers and presented with symptoms, including fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
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Worryingly, the zoonotic disease kills approximately 35 percent of those infected with it.
The deadly virus is usually passed on from infected animals like dromedary camels.
Out of the three cases, two had a history of contact with these animals but all three men consumed raw camel milk in the 14 days before their symptoms appeared.
The bug was also reported earlier this year in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.
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MERS was first identified in Jordan in 2012 and has since caused 2605 infections and 936 deaths.
While the majority of cases are reported in the Arabian Peninsula, some have been discovered elsewhere, including the UK.
The zoonotic disease is part of the coronavirus family that can cause health problems, ranging from the common cold to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).
MERS seems to be more deadly but less transmissible than COVID-19.
What’s worse, the WHO predicted more cases of MERS to come in their report.
The statement said: “WHO expects that additional cases of MERS-CoV infection will be reported from the Middle East and/or other countries where MERS-CoV is circulating in dromedaries, and that cases will continue to be exported to other countries by individuals who were exposed to the virus through contact with dromedaries or their products.”
The NHS recommends all travellers going to the Middle East to regularly wash their hands with soap and water, especially after visiting farms, barns or market areas.
Travellers should also avoid drinking raw camel milk, camel urine or eating meat that has not been thoroughly cooked, the WHO added.
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