Saudi Arabia announced on Thursday that the total number of cases of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) had nearly doubled in the Kingdom in April, with 36 more infections reported during the past three days.
Four of the 10 new cases reported on Thursday were in Jeddah, three in Makkah, and three in Riyadh.
The new cases have taken the total number of confirmed infections in the Kingdom to 381. Most of the new infections last month came in an outbreak in three hospitals in Jeddah.
New infection cases reported in Riyadh included a 77-year-old man who was admitted to hospital for treatment against bacterial poisoning. He is also suffering from diabetes and blood pressure and is being treated at the hospital’s intensive care unit. Of people who caught the disease in Saudi Arabia, 107 have died since it was identified two years ago.
International concern about the disease is acute because Saudi Arabia is expected to receive large numbers of foreign pilgrims during the fasting month of Ramadan in July, followed by millions more for the annual Haj pilgrimage in October.
Although the WHO has said the disease, from the same family as the SARS virus, is difficult to pass between humans, most of the cases reported in Saudi Arabia so far appear to have been transmitted between people rather than from animals.
WHO experts have arrived in Saudi Arabia and are working with authorities on boosting infection control measures, particularly in hospitals, and studying how the virus spreads.
Meanwhile, WHO officials said the spread of superbugs that evade even the most powerful antibiotics is no longer a prediction, but is happening right now across the world.