A 69-year-old man has died in Jordan after being infected with the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) coronavirus, a health ministry official said on Sunday.
“The man, who suffered from diabetes and high blood pressure, died in hospital on Wednesday,” Sultan Kasrawi of the ministry’s communicable disease department told AFP.
“He died five days after he was admitted to hospital.”
Kasrawi said the latest death brings to six the number of fatalities in Jordan from MERS since it first emerged in 2012.
Last Thursday, an Iranian woman died from MERS, the republic’s first victim. The 53-year-old woman was one of two sisters the health ministry said Wednesday had tested positive for the illness.
Iran’s first reported cases come just a month before the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan, when pilgrim numbers are expected to rise sharply.
The vast majority of MERS cases worldwide since the virus’s discovery two years ago have been in Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia’s Health Ministry said Thursday that 13 people have died over the last two weeks from the Middle Eastern respiratory virus.
Nearly all cases recorded elsewhere have been among people who had recently traveled to the kingdom or one of its Gulf Arab neighbors, or had been in contact with someone who had.
MERS is considered a deadlier but less transmissible cousin of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) virus that appeared in Asia in 2003 and killed hundreds of people, mostly in China.
Like SARS, it appears to cause a lung infection, with patients suffering coughing, breathing difficulties and a temperature. But MERS differs in that it also causes rapid kidney failure.
MERS has killed 187 people in Saudi Arabia since it first emerged in 2012, and hundreds more have been infected.