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100 More MERS Cases Found in Saudi Arabia Review

A highly magnified picture of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV).
This highly magnified picture shows the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV). (Image credit: CDC/ Cynthia Goldsmith, Azaibi Tamin)

The number of people known to be infected with Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) just jumped by more than 100 after Saudi Arabian officials reexamined old medical records.

The new review identified 113 additional cases of MERS that had not been previously reported, bringing the total number of cases to 688, according to Reuters. Of these, 282 people, or 40 percent of those infected, died.

The news comes just a day after Saudi Arabian officials announced that the deputy health minister had been fired.

Cases of MERS first appeared in September 2012 in Saudi Arabia, and most cases have been in the Middle East. The virus that causes MERS belongs to the same family as the virus that causes SARS, known as coronaviruses.

Rachael has been with Live Science since 2010. She has a master's degree in journalism from New York University's Science, Health and Environmental Reporting Program. She also holds a B.S. in molecular biology and an M.S. in biology from the University of California, San Diego. Her work has appeared in Scienceline, The Washington Post and Scientific American.