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Saudi ‘MERS’ slows; 2 in Iran

RIYADH, May 27, (RTRS): The rate of infection of a deadly virus in Saudi Arabia has slowed since mid May and Monday was the first day free of new cases in six weeks, figures released by the kingdom’s Health Ministry showed. Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) was discovered in Saudi Arabia two years ago and has since infected 562 people in the kingdom, killing 179 of them.

It can cause flu-like symptoms, pneumonia and organ failure in some. A surge in new cases in April prompted King Abdullah to sack the health minister and led to criticism of infection control procedures in many Saudi hospitals. There were also concerns the government was not taking seriously MERS’s link to camels. Cases have also been discovered in other countries, including the United States, Britain and France and, most recently, in Iran. Most of these cases are linked to people who have recently visited Gulf Arab countries.

Meanwhile, Iranian officials say they have confirmed the country’s first two cases of MERS. Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Corona-Virus (MERS) causes coughing, fever and sometimes fatal pneumonia, killing an estimated 30 percent of those who are infected. “Four suspected cases of new corona virus infection were observed in a family in the province of Kerman. Two of these cases were confirmed in two sisters,” said Mohammad Mahdi Gouya, the directorgeneral of communicable diseases at the Iranian Health Ministry’s Centre for Diseases Control and Prevention

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