May 13, 2014 4:43 am

Saudi Arabia reports 5 more deaths from MERS

A man, wearing a mouth and nose mask, checks his phone as he leaves the hospital's emergency department on April 27, 2014 in the Saudi capital Riyadh.

AFP PHOTO/FAYEZ NURELDINE

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia – Saudi health officials say another five people have died after contracting a potentially fatal Middle Eastern respiratory virus that has sickened hundreds.

The Saudi Health Ministry provided the death toll in its latest update on the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome late on Monday.

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The ministry says eight new cases were discovered over the past 24 hours, in the cities of Riyadh, Jiddah and Medina.

A total of 147 people have died and 491 have been confirmed to have contracted the virus in Saudi Arabia since it was discovered in 2012. Most cases of the disease have been in the desert kingdom.

American health officials this week confirmed a second U.S. case of MERS. The virus was confirmed in a resident of Saudi Arabia who was visiting Florida.

© The Canadian Press, 2014

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