DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Saudi Arabia, which is grappling to contain the spread of a frequently deadly respiratory virus, announced Tuesday that a review of the illness led authorities to sharply revise upward the number of confirmed infections and deaths from the disease.
The surprise disclosure followed the unexpected firing of the kingdom’s deputy health minister, heightening concerns about the country’s ability to halt the spread of the Middle Eastern respiratory virus. He was the second senior Saudi health official to lose his job in less than two months.
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. Of those infected, 53 were reported to still be receiving treatment.