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Saudi death toll from MERS virus rises to 186

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) -- Saudi Arabia's Health Ministry says 13 people have died over the last two weeks from the Middle Eastern respiratory virus.

The ministry says 186 people in total have died from the virus since it was discovered in 2012. The ministry said late Wednesday another 565 people had contracted the virus in Saudi Arabia.

The recent figures indicate that the rate of infections and deaths may have slightly dipped in the last two weeks after a sharp rise in infections and deaths in April and the first half of May.

MERS is part of the coronavirus family of viruses, which includes the common cold and SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome. MERS can cause symptoms including fever, breathing problems, pneumonia and kidney failure.

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