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World Briefing: Saudi Arabia: MERS Toll Revised

Saudi Arabia revised sharply upward the number of cases of the new MERS virus within its borders and said it had been fatal in more than 40 percent of the cases. After a review of medical records, the country’s total number of cases of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome since the virus was isolated in 2012 is now 688, up from 575; the death toll is 282, not 190. The country has had a surge of cases since March — many apparently originating in hospitals — but they seem to be falling off, an adviser to the Health Ministry said. That surge led to the dismissal of the health minister, and on Monday, his replacement dismissed the deputy health minister who has been the public face of the country’s response. The deputy, Dr. Ziad Memish, was recently profiled in The Lancet for his preparations for the annual visit to Mecca by up to three million Muslims. Most of the 133 new cases are from March and April, suggesting that many were either not tested or not reported.

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(via NY Times)