MERS outbreak in Saudi Arabia closes Riyadh ER ward
Saudi authorities closed an emergency ward yesterday in one of the kingdom's largest hospitals yesterday after an outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).
At least 46 people, including hospital staff, contracted the potentially fatal disease, a health official said Wednesday.
Dr Hanan Balkhi from the ministry of health's department for infectious diseases said that of the 46 people infected at King Abdulaziz Medical City in the capital, Riyadh, 15 were medical staff.
Another 20 people showing symptoms are being tested, she added.
The patients from the ward, set to remain closed for two weeks, are being transferred to other hospitals, she said.
The health ministry recorded three new MERS deaths in Riyadh on Wednesday.
The victims were all Saudi males aged between 65 and 86, according the ministry's website. That brings the total number of deaths to 483 since the virus was first identified in 2012.
|46 people infected at King Abdulaziz Medical City in the capital, Riyadh, 15 were medical staff.|
The ministry said that 1,118 cases have been registered nationwide; 592 have recovered and the rest - 43 - are being treated.
It appears the three who died are from among the 46 people diagnosed with MERS at the emergency ward that was closed.
Most MERS cases have been diagnosed in the Middle East, primarily in Saudi Arabia.
The MERS virus belongs to the family of viruses known as coronaviruses, which include both the common cold and SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome. SARS killed some 800 people in a global outbreak in 2003.
The MERS virus can cause symptoms such as fever, breathing problems, pneumonia and kidney failure.