Geneva/Abu Dhabi: An Emirati with a previously confirmed case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (Mers-CoV) has died, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said.
The 82-year-old Emirati, who had been undergoing chemotherapy for the last two years, was the first death from Mers coronavirus confirmed in the UAE.
The world health body’s report on Wednesday said the Emirati man died earlier this August and was not known to have travelled abroad. Susceptibility to the deadly virus increases when a patient has pre-existing conditions.
Meanwhile, eight more people in Saudi Arabia have contracted the coronavirus, bringing this year's number of confirmed infections worldwide to 102. Almost half of that number died, the UN agency reported.
“Globally, from September 2012 to date, WHO has been informed of a total of 102 laboratory-confirmed cases of infection with Mers-CoV, including 49 deaths,” the agency said in a statement.
Two of the men from Riyadh, who were already suffering from chronic diseases, died, while most of the other victims remain in intensive care, it said.
Mers-CoV, which can cause coughing, fever and pneumonia, emerged in Saudi Arabia last year and has been reported in people in the Gulf, France, Germany, Italy, Tunisia and Britain.
In a study into what kind of animal “reservoir” may be fuelling the outbreak in humans, scientists said this month they had found strong evidence it is widespread among dromedary camels in the Middle East.
The WHO has not recommended any travel restrictions but has urged health authorities worldwide to maintain vigilance. Recent travelers returning from the Middle East who develop severe respiratory infections should be tested for Mers-CoV, it said.
With input from agencies