Eight new cases of the deadly coronavirus MERS, a SARS-like infection, have been registered in Saudi Arabia, the World Health Organization said on Wednesday, August 28. Of the 8, 2 men from the capital Riyadh had died, the WHO said. Both had underlying medical conditions. 3 women and 3 men, all from Riyadh or the southern region of Asir, have also contracted the virus, which affects the respiratory system. Experts are struggling to understand MERS – Middle East Respiratory Syndrome – for which there is still no vaccine and which has an extremely high fatality rate of more than 51 percent. It is considered a cousin of the SARS virus that erupted in Asia in 2003 and infected 8,273 people, nine percent of whom died. Like SARS, MERS is thought to have jumped from animals to humans, and it shares the former’s flu-like symptoms – but differs by also causing kidney failure.
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