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WHO confirms four more cases of Middle East virus

LONDON (Reuters) - Three more people in Saudi Arabia have become infected with the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) coronavirus and one has died, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Thursday, and it also confirmed the first MERS case in Oman. In a disease outbreak update, the Geneva-based United Nations health agency said the four new cases bring the number of people worldwide struck by the MERS virus to 149, of which 63 have died.

False alarm over suspected new MERS infection in France

A patient suspected of having contracted the MERS coronavirus has tested negative for the lethal respiratory disease, France's health ministry has announced. The ministry had initially said Tuesday that a person who had just returned from Saudi Arabia, where the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) first appeared in September 2012, was likely infected by the virus. But in-depth tests on the 43-year-old patient revealed that they had not been infected.

Oman detects first MERS infection

Oman has discovered the first case of the MERS coronavirus in the Gulf sultanate, Health Minister Ahmed al-Saeedi said on Wednesday. The patient, a 68-year-old Omani man, was receiving treatment at a hospital in Nazwa, 150 kilometres (93 miles) west of Muscat, and was "stable," Saeedi told AFP. He said the case, the first in Oman, had been discovered on Tuesday, and that the patient had diabetes. Oman News Agency said the patient was "suffering from a chest infection".

Oman announces first MERS infection

Health authorities in Oman announced the first case of MERS coronavirus in the Gulf sultanate, state news agency ONA reported. The patient, an Omani man, is receiving treatment at a hospital and he is "stable", it said in a statement late Tuesday. "He is suffering from a chest infection." The statement gave no more details on the case, the first in Oman.

Prudence mixes with fatalism over MERS at hajj

Mohammed Shuaib wears a mask as he walks amid a flood of Muslims arriving for the hajj, but his wariness about the deadly MERS virus that has struck Saudi Arabia doesn't seem to be widely shared. "Prevention is better than cure," said the 67-year-old Algerian pensioner as he removed his mask to speak to AFP after performing noon prayers at the Grand Mosque in Mecca. But the overwhelming majority of those around him have no masks, and some said they never even heard of the MERS coronavirus, which has claimed 60 lives worldwide, 51 of them in Saudi Arabia.

Saudi MERS-free ahead of hajj

Saudi authorities have not yet recorded any cases of the deadly MERS virus ahead of the annual hajj that starts Sunday, with the kingdom hosting some two million Muslim pilgrims. "So far, no case for any epidemic has been recorded among the pilgrims, especially the coronavirus," local media on Thursday quoted Health Minister Abdullah al-Rabia as saying. The MERS virus has already claimed 58 lives worldwide, with the greatest number of deaths from the respiratory disease -- 49 -- in Saudi Arabia itself.

New Saudi cases lift MERS infections to 136

The global number of infections with the deadly MERS virus has risen to 136, after hard-hit Saudi Arabia confirmed six new cases, the World Health Organization said Friday. Glenn Thomas, spokesman for the UN health agency, said it had been informed by Saudi authorities that the virus had been detected in three men and three women in the capital Riyadh. The virus, which appeared first in the kingdom last year, has killed 58 people worldwide, 49 of them in Saudi Arabia, according to official Saudi figures and the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Gene sequences of deadly Saudi virus show complex transmission

By Kate Kelland LONDON (Reuters) - Genetic analysis of samples of the deadly MERS virus that has killed 58 people in the Middle East and Europe shows the disease has jumped from animals to humans several times, scientists said on Friday. At least 132 people have been infected with the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) coronavirus since it emerged about a year ago, and it has killed 58 of them, according to the World Health Organisation.

Two Saudis die of MERS virus

Two Saudis have died after contracting the MERS coronavirus, the health ministry said on Thursday, bringing the total number of fatalities from the SARS-like virus in the kingdom to 49. A 75-year-old woman, who had suffered chronic illnesses, died in the western city of Medina, while a man, 83, who also had chronic diseases, died in the capital, the ministry website said. The ministry also registered three new cases, bringing to 107 the total number of infections in Saudi Arabia, the country worst hit by the virus.

Qatar announces second MERS virus death

A Qatari man has died from the MERS coronavirus, becoming the second fatality from the SARS-like virus to be recorded in the Gulf state, health authority said Saturday. The man died on Friday after he showed symptoms of the coronavirus on August 17, Qatar's Supreme Council of Health said, adding that the man had been suffering from a chronic illness. Earlier in the week, Qatar said a woman died after being infected, and that two other cases have been registered, including two men, aged 59 and 29, who were hospitalised last month.
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