RIYADH (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia’s Health Ministry has confirmed 58 new cases of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in the country since the start of August, data on its website shows, the highest rise in recorded infections since February.
The 10 new cases it announced late on Tuesday represented the biggest daily jump in confirmed new infections in Saudi Arabia since May 2014, a month in which 210 people were recorded contracting the disease at the height of its biggest outbreak.
MERS, first identified in 2012 and mostly found so far in Saudi Arabia despite outbreaks elsewhere, is a SARS-like disease that causes fever and coughing in some.
Although it does not pass easily between humans, the disease has a high mortality rate, with 480 of the 1,115 people Saudi Arabia has confirmed as having caught MERS since 2012 dying from it.
Almost all the new cases of MERS confirmed over the past week have occurred in Riyadh, and included some health care workers.
King Abdulaziz Medical City, a group of hospitals owned by the Saudi Arabian National Guard, has put its emergency and outpatient departments on alert after a surge in cases there, National Guard officials were quoted saying in Arab News daily.
Reporting By Angus McDowall; Editing by Shri Navaratnam