Saudi Arabia’s Health Ministry says 15 more people have died after contracting the Middle East respiratory syndrome, known as MERS, in the last seven days amid a surge in contractions in the capital, Riyadh.

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The Health Ministry’s most recent figures on Thursday show that 498 people have died in Saudi Arabia after contracting the virus since it was first identified in 2012, compared to 483 a week ago.

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The kingdom also registered 47 new cases in the past seven days, all but two in Riyadh. That brings the total number nationwide to 1,165, with 64 receiving treatment and 603 fully recovered.

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The MERS virus belongs to the family of viruses known as coronaviruses. MERS can cause symptoms such as fever, breathing problems, pneumonia and kidney failure.

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