MERS affects three more patients

WHO reported an additional three laboratory-confirmed cases of human infection with Middle East respiratory syndrome, or MERS, coronavirus in Saudi Arabia, including two deaths.

Since September 2012, when the outbreak began, there have been 160 cases of MERS infection, including 68 deaths.

The latest cases include a 73-year-old woman with pre-existing medical conditions from Riyadh who became sick Nov. 12, was hospitalized Nov. 14 and died Nov. 18; a 65-year-old man with pre-existing medical conditions from the Jawf region who became sick Nov. 4 and was hospitalized Nov. 14; and a 37-year-old man from Riyadh who became sick Nov. 9, was hospitalized Nov. 13 and died Nov. 18.

Respiratory disease is the primary illness associated with MERS, but diarrhea is commonly reported in patients with the infection. Severely immunocompromised patients with MERS can present with atypical symptoms, according to health officials.

WHO recommends that all travelers returning from the Middle East who develop severe acute respiratory infections should be tested for MERS. However, the health organization does not recommend any travel or trade restrictions as a result of the outbreak.