Four new cases of MERS-CoV reported in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia recently reported four new cases of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus to the World Health Organization, the Hong Kong Department of Health said on Saturday.

According to the WHO, the four patients are all from Riyadh, the country's capital. One case occurred in a 73-year-old man with underlying illnesses who died on December 18. The man reported exposure to animals but no travel history.

One case occurred in a 53-year-old man with underlying illnesses who was under intensive care as of Saturday. The other two cases occurred in female health workers who were asymptomatic.

The four cases increase the global number of confirmed MERS-CoV cases to 170, including 72 deaths.

The DH said its Centre for Health Control will seek additional information on the new cases from the WHO and will stay vigilant to monitor the latest developments of the disease. There have been no human infections with MERS-CoV in Hong Kong.

"We would like to reassure the public that the government will be as transparent as possible in the dissemination of information on cases of Middle East respiratory syndrome," a DH spokesman said. "Whenever there is a suspected case, particularly involving patients with travel history to the Middle East, the CHP will release information to the public as soon as possible."