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April 26, 2014

Egypt Reports First Case of MERS Virus

by VOA News

Egyptian authorities have detected the country's first case of the deadly SARS-like virus called the Middle East respiratory syndrome, or MERS.

Egypt's state-run news says a 27-year-old Egyptian who recently traveled to Saudi Arabia tested positive for the disease Saturday morning. Doctors are treating him at Cairo hospital.

The virus has hit Saudi Arabia particularly hard. Saudi Arabia's health ministry says 92 people have died and 313 have contracted the virus in the country since September 2012.

Doctor Amr Kandeel, chief of Egypt's Health Ministry Preventative Sector, had warned just days ago of the probability for a MERS outbreak in Egypt, given the frequent travel by Egyptians to Saudi Arabia's religious sites.

He also noted the virus is present is some Egyptian camels.

The disease is believed to have crossed over to humans from camels. MERS belongs to a family of viruses known as coronaviruses that includes SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome, which in 2003 killed some 800 people in a global outbreak.

There is no vaccine or treatment for the MERS virus, and doctors are not sure how it is transmitted.

Some information for this report comes from AP and Reuters.