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MERS Cases Announced In Saudi Arabia, Qatar; Scientists Debate Suspected Bat Vector

“A Saudi man has died of the coronavirus MERS, bringing the kingdom’s death toll from the SARS-like virus to 42, health authorities said Wednesday, adding a new case was registered,” Agence France-Presse reports (8/28). And “[h]ealth authorities in Qatar announced the second confirmed case in a week of the MERS coronavirus in the Gulf state, with a 29-year-old man infected and in intensive care,” the news agency reports in a separate article (8/28). “Saudi Arabia is the country worst hit by MERS, which has killed 47 people globally,” AFP writes. “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,” the news agency notes (8/28). The New York Times examines the recent findings showing MERS was isolated from one bat found in Saudi Arabia, writing, “Since scientists announced last week that they had tracked a dangerous new coronavirus to bats in Saudi Arabia, a debate has emerged among virologists as to whether there really is enough evidence to back up the claim.” The newspaper includes comments from several scientists (McNeil, 8/27).