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Indian family refuses to receive body of MERS victim

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Riyadh, Sep 13 :

The family of an Indian expatriate, who died of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) corona virus in Saudi Arabia, has refused to receive his body in India, amid fears of contracting the deadly disease, a media report said Saturday.

MERS is a serious viral respiratory illness caused by the corona virus and can be transmitted by air to humans.

Dasharati Sattaih, who worked in a maintenance company in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province that had contracts with several hospitals, contracted the viral disease while on the job and later died June 20, Arab News reported.

The family of Sattaih, who hails from the Adilabad district of the south Indian state of Telangana, has refused to claim the body after they learned from misleading sources that they could be infected with the disease if they touched the body.

The employer has been cooperating to repatriate the body to India but the family has refused to complete the formalities. This has led to the body lying unclaimed in a morgue, the report stated.

Repatriation or burial of an expatriate worker in the Arab nation can be a complicated process which can only be eased with the cooperation of the kin.

In a related incident, another Indian expatriate who died after a prolonged illness in Saudi Arabia has been ruled out to be MERS infected. The body of Akrim Singh from Punjab, was finally repatriated home.

MERS is considered a deadly but less transmissible cousin of the SARS virus, which erupted in Asia in 2003 and infected thousands of people.

The MERS virus emerged in the Middle East in 2012 and so far cases have been reported in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Tunisia and parts of Europe.

The Saudi government has been criticised by international health experts over its handling of the disease, which has spread to several Middle Eastern countries, Asia, and the US.

As many as 300 people have succumbed to the deadly virus out of 733 cases detected in the Gulf nation since the first case was registered in 2012.

(IANS)