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WHO: 12 New Cases Of MERS-CoV Infection Reported In Saudi Arabia

The United Nations' World Health Organization (WHO) said Friday that the National IHR Focal Point of Saudi Arabia has informed it of twelve new laboratory-confirmed cases of human infection with Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in the country.

The UN health agency said the cases were reported in Riyadh (5), Taif (4), Hafr Albatin (1), Jouf (1) and Makkah (1). The age of patients range from 30 to 90 years. Eight cases (67%) are men and 8 (67%) are Saudi nationals.

Only 1 case has a history of contact with animals and of raw camel products consumption. Seven cases - 2 of which were healthcare professionals - came in contact with MERS-CoV patients. Two cases - including 1 healthcare worker - spent time at hospitals with ongoing MERS-CoV outbreaks, although they had no contact with infected patients.

From September 2012 to date, the WHO has been informed of a total of 909 laboratory-confirmed cases of infection with MERS-CoV globally, including at least 331 related deaths.

Based on the current situation and available information, WHO has urged all Member-States to continue surveillance for acute respiratory infections and carefully review any unusual patterns.

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.

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