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MERS Coronavirus Slams Saudi Arabia; Travelers Warned

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Another person has died from the MERS coronavirus in Saudi Arabia, bringing the death toll to 31.

At least 55 people in eight countries have contracted the virus, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Saudi Arabia has been hit hardest with 40 cases, 25 of them fatal.

Health officials are still searching for the source of the outbreak, which began in April 2012.  All of the cases have ties to the Middle East, according to the World Health Organization.

Anyone traveling to the Middle East is encouraged to avoid close contact with people who look sick, wash hands thoroughly and often, and avoid undercooked meats as well as raw, unpeeled fruits and vegetables and unpurified water.

People who develop respiratory symptoms after visiting the Middle East are urged to cover their mouths during coughs and sneezes and seek immediate medical attention, which could result in a period of isolation if tests for the virus come back positive.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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