The World Health Organization said on Friday it would hold an emergency meeting next week on the deadly MERS virus, amid concern over the rising number of cases in several countries.
The UN health agency will host the emergency meeting on Tuesday to discuss the worrying spread of the virus, which in less than two years has killed 126 people in Saudi Arabia alone, spokesman Tarik Jasarevic told reporters in Geneva.
The WHO’s emergency committee has already met four times to discuss the mysterious corona virus, which surfaced in mid-2012.
The Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus is considered a deadlier but less-transmissible cousin of the SARS virus that broke out in Asia in 2003, infecting 8,273 people and killing nearly 800 of them.
Like SARS, it appears to cause a lung infection, with patients suffering from a temperature, coughing and breathing difficulties. But it differs in that it also causes rapid kidney failure.
MERS cases have also been reported in the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon and even the United States, with most involving people who had travelled to Saudi Arabia or worked there, often as medical staff.