The United Nations' World Health Organization (WHO) said Monday that the National IHR Focal Point of Saudi Arabia has informed it of seven new laboratory-confirmed cases of human infection with Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in the country.
The UN health agency said six of the seven patients were males aged between 49 and 74 years. The seventh patient is 55-year-old woman from Addawaser City in the Riyadh Region.
From September 2012 to date, the WHO has been informed of a total of 834 laboratory-confirmed cases of infection with MERS-CoV globally, including 288 deaths.
Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that can cause a range of ailments from the common cold to severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), which became an epidemic in 2003. The virus could be transmitted between people in close and prolonged contact. The sources of infection for the new coronavirus are still unclear.
The deadly Novel Coronavirus (NCoV) strain, recently renamed MERS-CoV, reflects the fact that most of the reported cases are from that region, mainly Saudi Arabia.
Nevertheless, countries like France, Germany, Jordan, Italy, the Netherlands, Tunisia and the United Kingdom have also reported laboratory-confirmed cases of MERS-CoV infections. Those patients were either transferred there for care of the disease or returned from the Middle East and subsequently became ill.
by RTT Staff Writer
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