News / Middle East

Saudi Arabia Reports 11 New Cases of MERS Virus

FILE - Passengers walk past the medical quarantine area showing information sheets for the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus at the arrival section of Manila's International Airport in Paranaque, south of Manila, April 16, 2014.
FILE - Passengers walk past the medical quarantine area showing information sheets for the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus at the arrival section of Manila's International Airport in Paranaque, south of Manila, April 16, 2014.
Reuters
— Saudi Arabia said on Wednesday it had discovered 11 more cases of the potentially deadly Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), including what appeared to be the first case in the Muslim holy city of Mecca.
 
A health ministry statement said eight of the people were in intensive care, two were stable, including a 24-year-old Saudi man from the “holy capital” Mecca, and one showed no symptoms. Three of those affected worked in health care, it said.
 
Saudi Arabia has witnessed a jump in the rate of infection with the virus in recent weeks, with many of the new cases recorded in Jeddah, the kingdom's second largest city.
 
Of Wednesday's 11 new cases, four were recorded in the Saudi capital Riyadh, six in Jeddah - the second largest city and the main entry point for pilgrims visiting nearby Mecca - and one in Mecca itself, the statement said.
 
The jump in Saudi cases is of particular concern as the country is expected to see a large influx of pilgrims from around the world in July during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, followed in early October by the arrival of millions of people to perform the annual Haj in Mecca and Medina.
 
The latest cases bring the total number of confirmed cases in the kingdom to 272, of whom 81 have died.
 
MERS emerged in the Middle East in 2012 and is from the same family as the SARS virus, which killed around 800 people worldwide after first appearing in China in 2002. MERS can cause coughing, fever and pneumonia.
 
Although the worldwide number of MERS infections is fairly small, the more than 40 percent death rate among confirmed cases and the spread of the virus beyond the Middle East is keeping scientists and public health officials on alert.
 
Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah replaced the health minister on Monday amid growing public disquiet at the spread of the disease. A day before his dismissal, Abdullah al-Rabeeah said there were no cases of the virus in Mecca.
 
Labor Minister Adel Fakieh, who has been appointed as acting health minister, said on Wednesday he had just returned from a visit to the King Fahd hospital in Jeddah where a number of coronavirus patients are being treated.
 
Fakieh said he was pleased that a number of patients, including doctors, were recovering but said that there were a few critical cases still receiving medical care.

You May Like

Computer Crash Halts US Visa, Passport Operation

Problems with database have resulted in extensive backlog of applications, affected State Department's consular offices all over the world More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

World Bank: Boko Haram Stalls African Aid Projects

Islamist group’s terrorism sets back agriculture, health efforts in Cameroon, Chad and Nigeria More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnelsi
X
July 24, 2014 4:42 AM
The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video MH17's 'Black Boxes' Could Reveal Crash Details

The government of Malaysia now has custody of the cockpit voice and flight data recorders from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which was hit by a missile over Ukraine before crashing last week. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports, the so-called black boxes may hold information about the final minutes of the flight.
Video

Video Living in the Shadows Panel Discussion

Following a screening of the new VOA documentary, "AIDS - Living in the Shadows," at the World AIDS conference in Melbourne, a panel discussed the film and how to combat the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid