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MERS Virus Spreads To Italy, Kills 3 More In Saudi Arabia

“On Friday, Italy’s health ministry reported its first case of [Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV)] was contracted by a 45-year-old man who returned from a trip to Jordan where he visited his son, who had the ‘flu,'” GlobalPost reports (Mattson, 5/31). “The patient was in good condition and was being monitored in isolation, the ministry said in a statement,” Reuters writes, adding, “He was admitted to a hospital in Tuscany with a high fever, a cough and breathing difficulties” (O’Leary, 5/31). “The Italian Ministry of Health has notified the [WHO] of an additional two laboratory-confirmed cases with [MERS-CoV], the WHO said Sunday,” according to Xinhua (6/1). “All three patients were reported to be in good condition and were being treated in isolation,” the Associated Press notes (6/1).

In addition, “[t]hree more people have died in Saudi Arabia from the new SARS-like coronavirus, bringing the worldwide death toll to 30, the [WHO] said on Friday,” Reuters reports in a separate article. “Saudi health officials also told the WHO of a new case in the eastern province of al-Ahsa, increasing the number of cases worldwide to 50, WHO spokesman Glenn Thomas told reporters at a news conference in Geneva,” the news service adds (Kasolowsky, 5/31). “In all, eight countries that have been affected by the virus, including Tunisia, Jordan, Britain, and France,” VOA News notes, adding, “But speaking in Geneva on [May 27], the director-general of the WHO said MERS is a ‘threat to the entire world'” (Hennessy, 5/31). “The [WHO] is not advising restrictions or special screening for travelers, but it has issued recommendations for surveillance that describe what respiratory illnesses hospital personnel should regard as suspicious,” the Washington Post writes (Ehrenfreund, 5/31). The Globe and Mail examines intellectual property issues surrounding the virus (Cyran, 6/2).