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First Egyptian diagnosed with MERS : State TV

Man infected with MERS, a deadlier and less transmissible cousin of SARS, had just returned from Saudi Arabia

Ahram Online, Saturday 26 Apr 2014
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Egyptian state TV reported on Saturday that an Egyptian man was diagnosed with Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), making him the first case to be detected in the country.

According to State TV's correspondent in the health ministry, the man, who had just returned from Saudi Arabia, went through medical examination on Friday at Fever Hospital in Cairo's Abbasyia, where it was discovered that he had contracted the deadly respiratory virus that appeared in the Kingdom in 2012.

MERS is considered to be a deadlier but less-transmissible cousin of the SARS virus that erupted in Asia in 2003 and infected 8,273 people, nine percent of whom died.

The origins of the new syndrome are unclear, although some theories point to the possibility of a virus mutation from animals to humans. Around half of the reported cases of the virus were fatal.

Saudi Arabia, the country most severely hit by MERS, has recorded 145 cases, of which 60 have now proved fatal, since the virus first appeared in September 2012.

The World Health Organisation says on its website that it has been notified of 182 cases of MERS infection worldwide, and 79 deaths.

Prior to Saturday, several cases of MERS in Egypt were identified by the Ministry of Health as misdiagnoses, which affirms that this is the first case in Egypt.

According to Al-Ahram's Arabic news website, the patient was visited by minister of health Adel Adawyi Saturday afternoon, who stressed that there is no need to panic from the virus.

"The virus is curable, the ministry has taken all the needed procedures to deal with the infected cases," added the minister.

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