MERS Claims the Lives of TWO SAUDIS; Three More Infected

The Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) has killed two more people, bringing the death toll in the country to 363 since the virus was detected in 2012, the Health Ministry announced Thursday.

The deceased are both Saudi men, a 67-year-old in Taif and a 76-year-old in Riyadh. Three other Saudis were infected, a 76-year-old man and two young males, all from Riyadh.
The ministry has recorded 839 cases since September 2012, with 471 people having recovered completely.

Health Ministry spokesman Khalid Al-Mirghalani told Arab News that the ministry has been taking action to contain the disease. It is currently working with the World Health Organization (WHO), he said.

The ministry has confirmed the virus is transmitted from camels to humans, and has issued several advisories warning people to stay away from the animals or wear protective masks, gloves and clothing if they have to make contact.

Recently, the ministry hired a team of experts from the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to help combat the spread of infectious and noncommunicable diseases in the Kingdom, including MERS and Ebola.

The decision is part of an agreement recently signed by the ministry’s command and control center with the CDC and includes training and support for Saudi professionals under the Field Epidemiology Training Program.

The program would be carried out in cooperation with King Saud University under the guidance of a foreign adviser for a period of three years, said Abdul Aziz bin Saeed, undersecretary for public health and president of the central command and control center.

The ministry would ensure “comprehensive preparations based on the world’s best medical practices to provide protection for citizens and residents in the Kingdom,” said Bin Saeed.

He said that this is an essential part of the continued cooperation with the WHO and the CDC on MERS and other communicable diseases.

(Source: Arab News)

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