Saudi Arabia says 3 more die from new Sars-like virus

RIYADH (AP) - Saudi Arabia has reported that three more people have died from a new respiratory virus related to SARS, bringing the total number of deaths in the kingdom to 24.

The Ministry of Health said Sunday the three deceased were among 38 infected in the kingdom with the respiratory virus called MERS.

It says two of the three whose deaths were reported Sunday were suffering from chronic diseases.

The World Health Organisation said the new germ was first seen in the Middle East and that it had killed about 800 people in a global epidemic in 2003.

The WHO said Saturday prior to the latest Saudi announcement that it had been informed of 51 confirmed cases of the new virus since September and 30 of those cases were fatal.