Saudi Arabia has reported another 11 cases of the deadly Corona virus or MERS and for the first time in the city of Mecca. This brings the total number of persons affected by the virus to 261.

According to a health ministry statement, MERS or the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome has afflicted 261 patients. Six of the latest patients of MERS were identified in Jeddah, four in Riyadh and one in Mecca

The MERS first emerged in September 2012 and since then 93 persons have died from the disease. The MERS virus belongs to the same family as SARS virus which had killed 800 people across the globe since it first appeared in China. According to a statement from ‘WHO’, the MERS virus has been linked to contact with camels.

Saudi Arabia is in close consultation with experts across the globe about how to combat the disease. The political fallout of the epidemic is also being seen with the Saudi Kingdom axing Health Minister Abdullah al-Rabeeah from office on April 21. Labor Minister Adel Faqih will be in charge for the time being.

Assistant Deputy Minister of Health Mohammed Zamakhshary said in an interview, “Every effort is being made to understand its current behavior and any potential alteration in its behavior, of the coronavirus that causes the illness.”

A 25-year-old Saudi Citizen in Jordan has tested positive for the virus and is said to be in a stable condition.

Maria Van Kerkhove, a senior research fellow at Imperial College in London and a technical expert for the WHO said, “We believe MERS is a zoonotic virus, meaning that the virus comes from animals, namely camels, and is transmitted to humans. The virus can also be transmitted from human to human, which we have seen between family members and health-care workers caring for MERS patients.”

 

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