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Saudi MERS death toll surges to 282Tue, 03 Jun, 2014 | Posted By: The Times Of Earth (TOE)

Saudi MERS death toll surges to 282 Muslim pilgrims wear surgical masks to prevent infection from respiratory virus known as the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) in the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Photo: AP
A report by the official Saudi Press Agency said authorities have registered a total of 688 confirmed infections and 282 deaths as a result of MERS since the virus was first identified in 2012.

The health ministry reported the new figure on Tuesday after a review of cases. It also revised the total number of confirmed cases to 688, up 113 on previous figures.

The revised figures come from a re-examination of data since 2012, when MERS was identified. Of the total, 53 patients were still being treated, while 353 had recovered, the statement said.

The ministry said it had put in place new measures to make sure data gathering, reporting and transparency were being observed, including standardisation of testing and better guidelines for labelling and storing samples.

"While the review has resulted in a higher total number of previously unreported cases, we still see a decline in the
number of new cases reported over the past few weeks," Tariq Madani, head of the ministry's scientific advisory board, was quoted as saying in the emailed statement.

On Monday, the acting health minister, Adel Fakieh, announced he had relieved deputy minister Ziad Memish from his
post.

Fakieh was appointed in April after King Abdullah sacked his predecessor Abdullah al-Rabeeah following a new MERS outbreak.

Source: Reuters and agencies
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