Saudi Arabia reports 5 more deaths from MERS

Mideast Saudi Virus

FILE – This undated file electron microscope image made available by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases – Rocky Mountain Laboratories shows novel coronavirus particles, also known as the MERS virus, colorized in yellow. Four more people have died in Saudi Arabia after contracting an often fatal Middle East respiratory virus as the number of new confirmed infections in the kingdom climbs higher, according to health officials. The Saudi health ministry said in a statement posted online late Wednesday, May 8, 2014 that 18 new confirmed cases of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome were reported in the capital Riyadh, the western cities of Jiddah, Mecca and Medina, and in the city of Najran, along the border with Yemen.(AP Photo/NIAID – RML, File)

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Saudi health officials say another five people have died after contracting a potentially fatal Middle Eastern respiratory virus that has sickened hundreds.

The Saudi Health Ministry provided the death toll in its latest update on the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome late on Monday.

The ministry says eight new cases were discovered over the past 24 hours, in the cities of Riyadh, Jiddah and Medina.

A total of 147 people have died and 491 have been confirmed to have contracted the virus in Saudi Arabia since it was discovered in 2012. Most cases of the disease have been in the desert kingdom.

American health officials this week confirmed a second U.S. case of MERS. The virus was confirmed in a resident of Saudi Arabia who was visiting Florida.