Health ministry denies any MERS fatalities in Egypt

Ahram Online, Tuesday 6 May 2014

The Ministry of Health issued a statement Tuesday denying any suspicions of MERS fatalities in Egypt following the deaths of two women returning from Saudi Arabia

The Ministry of Health asserted in a Tuesday statement that the two women who died the previous day following their return from a pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia were not infected with the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).

One woman, a 60-year-old, died on Monday in the Port Said Fever Hospital while the other died in the Delta's Menoufiya Governorate on the same day.

The ministry's statement affirmed that the medical tests conducted on the two women confirm the cause of their deaths to be entirely unrelated to MERS.

It also stressed that the ministry will announce any new MERS virus infections and that, to date, only one case has been diagnosed -- on 26 April.

MERS, a respiratory virus that appeared in Saudi Arabia in 2012, is considered a deadlier but less-transmissible cousin of the SARS virus that emerged in Asia in 2003 and infected 8,273 people, nine percent of whom died.

The health ministry has already issued a travel warning to Saudi Arabia during the upcoming pilgrimage season, especially for children and the elderly.

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