The Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) has killed 10 more people in Saudi Arabia over the past week, pushing the death toll above 400. Saudi Arabia is the country worst-hit by MERS-CoV. Health officials have broadened their campaign to halt its spread.
The health ministry data shows that the latest deaths occurred between February 27 and March 5, with six of those deaths in Riyadh. A total of 936 people have been infected with MERS virus since it was first identified in 2012, and 402 of them have died.
On Wednesday the health ministry said that it has started a new phase of a public education campaign to help prevent the spread of the virus. It uses television, radio, print, social media and text messages with the theme 'We can stop it'. The intensified campaign comes after a mission by the United Nations World Health Organization and other agencies said, "Efforts to educate professionals and the public are urgently needed."
The WHO has cited the preliminary results of studies indicating that people working with camels are at an increased risk of infection from MERS-CoV, and young camels are particularly susceptible. In February, Abdul Aziz bin Saeed, who heads the center coordinating the health ministry's response to MERS, warned about a surge in MERS cases typically around this time of year, when there are more juvenile camels circulating.