(Updates WHO's worldwide death toll, adds details)
DUBAI, June 17 Four more people have died and
three more have fallen ill in Saudi Arabia from the new
SARS-like coronavirus MERS-CoV, the Saudi Health Ministry said
The ministry said the four deaths were among previously
registered cases. The new infections were in Eastern Province,
in the capital Riyadh and in the Red Sea port city of Jeddah.
Saudi Arabia has been the country most affected by the
respiratory-system virus, with 49 confirmed cases, of whom 32
have died, according to data from the ministry.
In a statement confirming the four additional deaths and
three additional cases in Saudi Arabia, the World Health
Organization (WHO) said the worldwide toll now stood at 38
deaths from a total of 64 laboratory-confirmed cases.
The virus, which can cause coughing, fever and pneumonia,
has spread from the Gulf to France, Germany, Italy, Tunisia and
Britain. The WHO has called it the Middle East Respiratory
Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV).
It is a relative of the virus that caused Severe Acute
Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which emerged in China in 2002 and
killed about a tenth of the 8,000 people it infected worldwide.
The origin of the MERS virus is still unclear. So far, it
appears to spread between people only when there is close,
The WHO is advising healthcare providers around the world to
be vigilant, especially with recent travellers returning from
the Middle East who develop respiratory infections.
(Reporting by Mahmoud Habboush and by Kate Kelland in London;
Editing by Angus McDowall and Robin Pomeroy)