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MERS virus: Saudi Arabia confirms 282 deaths


Saudi Arabia has confirmed that 282 people have been killed by the MERS virus, almost 100 more than initially thought.

The increase came after a national review of hospital data from the time the virus emerged in 2012.

The deputy health minister, who has been criticized for his handling of the crisis, was sacked on Monday.

Cases of the virus, for which there is no known cure, have been confirmed in almost a dozen other countries.

Saudi Arabia has confirmed that 282 people have been killed by the MERS virus, almost 100 more than initially thought

Saudi Arabia has confirmed that 282 people have been killed by the MERS virus, almost 100 more than initially thought

Saudi authorities said there had now been 688 confirmed MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) infections in the kingdom. Before the revision the number of cases was believed to be 575.

Health ministry spokesman Tariq Madani said that despite the revised figures, fewer people were now contracting the disease.

“Though the review showed confirmed cases that needed to be added, we are still witnessing a decline in the number of newly registered cases in the past few weeks” he said.

Of those infected, the country’s health ministry said, 53 were still receiving treatment.

Saudi Arabia has registered the largest number of infections of MERS.

MERS virus is from the same family as the common cold, but can lead to kidney failure and pneumonia.

Cases have also been confirmed in Jordan, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, France, Germany, Italy, Tunisia, Egypt, the UK and, most recently, the US.

Camels are suspected to be the main source of infection for humans. Saudi authorities have urged citizens to wear protective masks when dealing with the animals.

In April Saudi’s King Abdullah sacked the health minister as the death toll climbed.