04/24/2014 05:15 EDT | Updated 06/24/2014 05:59 EDT

Saudi Arabia records 2 more deaths, new infections from potentially fatal MERS virus

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia - Saudi Arabia's health ministry says two more patients who became infected with a Middle East virus related to SARS have died, and that 13 others have contracted the virus.

The ministry said on Thursday that the new cases from the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus were reported in the capital of Riyadh, as well as in the western city of Jiddah and the Islamic holy cities of Mecca and Medina.

The deaths bring to 83 the number of people who have died in the kingdom since contracting the virus in September 2012. The kingdom has recorded a total of 285 confirmed cases.

On Monday, King Abdullah removed the country's health minister following a recent spike in MERS cases.