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Saudi Arabia Confirms Another MERS-Related Death, Bringing Global Total To 31

“The Ministry of Health in Saudi Arabia has notified the [WHO] of another death from Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), bringing the death toll caused by the new coronavirus up to 31, the WHO said Friday,” Xinhua reports. “Globally, WHO has been informed of a total of 55 laboratory-confirmed cases of infection with MERS-CoV from September 2012 to date,” the news agency writes (6/8). “There have now been 41 confirmed cases in Saudi Arabia, 26 of them fatal, according to WHO figures,” according to Agence France-Presse (6/8). “Based on the current situation and available information, WHO urged all Member States to continue their surveillance for severe acute respiratory infections (SARI) and to carefully review any unusual patterns,” RTT News reports (6/7). Scientific American examines the challenges in addressing MERS, including the upcoming Muslim holiday of Ramadan and the annual hajj pilgrimage. “Infectious disease experts are aghast that this late into MERS’s spread the world still has no idea what puts people at risk of infection, how long the incubation period is, when people are contagious or whether there are mild cases that are being missed because surveillance is focused on finding sick people in hospitals,” the magazine writes (Branswell, 6/7).