Egypt’s only MERS case cured: Hospital director

Ahram Online, Monday 12 May 2014

A patient who tested positive for the deadly virus after returning from Saudi Arabia has been cured and released from the hospital, says a medical source

Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS
Particles of the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) coronavirus that emerged in 2012 are seen in an undated colorized transmission electron micrograph from the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) (Photo: Reuters)

The first and only case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in Egypt has been cured, Mohamed Abdel-Hameed, director of Abassiya hospital for chest diseases, announced on Monday.

Abdel-Hameed told Al-Ahram's Arabic news website that a patient named Ahmed who had been checked into the hospital for almost two weeks was released after he tested negative for the deadly virus.

The doctor said that none of the team that treated Ahmed had caught the virus, adding that 20 suspected cases of MERS had checked into the hospital but that all had tested negative.

Speaking to Al-Ahram, the patient, Ahmed, who has been working for three years as an engineer in Saudi Arabia – where he picked up the virus – said that after leaving the hospital he would return to the Gulf kingdom. He also expressed his surprise at the "high level of medical service," saying it was the first of its kind in a public hospital in Egypt.

The virus was transmitted to Ahmed through his uncle who lives in Saudi Arabia, the country most severely hit by MERS. Ahmed’s uncle died two weeks ago.

Since the virus first appeared in September 2012 in Saudi Arabia, the virus has recorded 483 cases – out of 496 worldwide – of which 142 have now proved fatal in the kingdom.

The virus has also spread to several Arab countries, including the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman and Tunisia, as well as the United States and several countries in Europe.

On Thursday, a former minister of health announced that Egypt might place a temporary ban on pilgrimages to the holy Islamic sites in Saudi Arabia as concerns continue to mount over the spread of the deadly virus.

Egypt's health ministry has already warned that elderly people, children and those suffering from chronic heart and chest diseases should avoid travelling to Saudi Arabia.


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