TWO people died after being caught Experts warn about the highly contagious Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).
The unnamed men, aged 42 and 85, were diagnosed with the disease in November 2022 and March 2023, respectively, in Saudi Arabia, the World Health Organization (WHO) said.
Local health authorities said another man, aged 83, tested positive for the virus in Saudi Arabia but survived.
The deadly virus, usually carried by infected animals such as camels, kills about a third (35 percent) of those infected.
Two infected men had contact with camels and all men consumed raw camel milk in the days before their symptoms began.
And all three had underlying health conditions that could have made the illness worse.
The bug was also reported in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates earlier this year.
MERS was first identified by scientists in Jordan in 2012 and has since led to over 2,617 infections and 947 deaths.
Most cases are reported in the Arab world, but some have been detected elsewhere – including one in the United Kingdom in 2018.
The pathogen belongs to the coronavirus family and can cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).
MERS is deadlier but less transmissible than its sister virus, Covid-19.
On August 29, the WHO predicted the emergence of more MERS cases.
It says: “WHO expects that additional cases of MERS-CoV infection will be reported from the Middle East and/or other countries where MERS-CoV is circulating in dromedaries.”
The NHS recommends that all travelers traveling to the Middle East wash their hands regularly with soap and water, particularly after visiting farms, barns or market areas.
Travelers should also avoid contact with camels, raw camel milk, or products and foods that may be contaminated with animal fluids.
MERS is a respiratory virus and symptoms can range from mild to severe
- Difficulty breathing
- Diarrhea and vomiting