The World Health Organization (WHO) announced Nov. 4 that another patient death from Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS-CoV) had been reported to them. Since reporting began in April 2012, there have been 150 lab confirmed cases of the illness and 64 deaths. Saudi Arabia reported to WHO that the middle aged woman who died had previous medical problems, and had contact with a previously confirmed case of the illness.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has been tracking the location of all the patients with confirmed MERS-CoV. Including the just announced fatality, Saudi Arabia has seen 125 cases and 53 deaths from the illness caused by a new variety of the coronavirus. The illness appears to be spread through close, personal contact and not casually.
Coronaviruses are found throughout the world, the CDC states. Five of the strains are known to cause illness in humans. Of those five, one is the strain that causes MERS-CoV and another was responsible for the SARS outbreak in 2003. Other strains circulate in the Northern Hemisphere in the fall and winter during the seasonal influenza season, adding to the number of illnesses with "flu-like" symptoms.