Last updated: 26 April, 2014

First MERS infection detected in Egypt

Egypt recorded its first MERS infection after a person who arrived from Saudi Arabia tested positive for the virus, state media reported on Saturday.

MERS infections have killed 92 people in Saudi Arabia, where the coronavirus was first detected in humans in 2012.

State television reported the patient was in a Cairo hospital after arriving from Saudi Arabia. It did not provide details on the patient’s condition.

The Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) virus is considered a deadlier but less-transmissible cousin of the SARS virus which erupted in Asia in 2003 and infected 8,273 people, nine percent of whom died.

Experts are still struggling to understand MERS, for which there is no known vaccine.

A recent study said the virus has been “extraordinarily common” in camels for at least 20 years, and may have been passed directly from the animals to humans.

It has spread to several countries, including the United Arab Emirates and Malaysia.