Saudi Arabia today reported two more Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) cases, plus the death of a previously reported case-patient, according to a machine-translated statement provided by FluTrackers, an online infectious-disease message board.

One case involves a 50-year-old Saudi citizen who has cancer and other chronic diseases and is in a hospital intensive care unit, said the statement from the Saudi Ministry of Health (MOH). The other involves a 70-year-old resident who also has chronic diseases and is in intensive care. No other details on the cases were provided.

Both new cases and the death occurred in the Riyadh region, the statement said. The patient who died was a 54-year-old man who also suffered from chronic diseases.

The MOH’s English language MERS-CoV media page currently shows that Saudi Arabia has had 79 cases with 40 deaths.

Following the new report, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its MERS-CoV page to show a global count of 99 cases, with 48 deaths.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has not yet noted the two new Saudi cases, nor has it recognized three other cases reported earlier this week: two in Saudi Arabia on Aug 19 and one in Qatar on Aug 20.

In other MERS developments, Italian officials published a report today on their investigation of the three cases that occurred in Italy in late May and early June, offering a few new details. The report appears in Eurosurveillance.

The cases started with a previously healthy 45-year-old man from Florence who got sick at the end of a 40-day stay in Jordan and who, after returning to Italy, passed the virus to an 18-month-old relative (identified in press reports as a niece) and a co-worker who was in her early 40s.

The 18-month-old girl had close contact with the index case-patient on May 26, when he spent the day with her and her family, the report says. The co-worker and the case-patient shared an office where both worked on May 27.

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