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Saudi Arabia Reports More Cases Of MERS; Health Experts Ask Countries To Standardize Disease’s Treatment

“Saudi Arabia said another person had died of the SARS-like coronavirus MERS and six new cases were registered, as international experts said on Saturday countries should standardize their approach to treating the disease,” Reuters reports. “The latest cases bring the total number infected worldwide to 70, with 39 having died since MERS was identified last year,” the news agency writes. Experts gathered at the WHO offices in Cairo “said in a statement after the meeting on Saturday that countries hosting mass gatherings where MERS was a risk should develop specific plans, without giving details,” according to Reuters, which notes “many Muslim pilgrims from around the world are expected to head for Mecca next month during the fast of Ramadan” (McDowall, 6/22). “What’s alarming about MERS is that it spreads within hospitals, even when patients are not in close proximity to one another, and its mortality rate is much higher — 65 percent,” The Atlantic reports, adding, “[I]n another confusing development, more than twice as many men as women have contracted MERS — making for interesting case study how cultural practices impact responses to disease.” The news service examines possible reasons for the gender disparity (Khazan, 6/21).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.