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Egypt Confirms First Case of Deadly MERS Virus

A man in Egypt has been diagnosed with Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, making him the first confirmed case in the country.

Egypt Confirms First Case of Deadly MERS Virus
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An Egyptian man has been diagnosed with Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, making him the first case reported in that country.

Egypt's health ministry told state media Saturday the 27-year-old man had recently returned to the country from Saudi Arabia. (Via Euronews)

Al Jazeera reports the patient tested positive for the MERS virus at a hospital in Cairo, where he is now reportedly in stable condition and in quarantine.

Time points out Saudi Arabia has been hit hard by MERS, a deadly coronavirus, with a grand total of 313 confirmed cases and 92 deaths since it was first reported there in September 2012.

And, as The Washington Post notes, it's spreading at an alarming rate. According to the outlet, there have been more confirmed reports this year than in all of 2013.

A doctor from the University of Queensland who has been monitoring the disease tweeted a chart showing the startling increase, which is especially drastic in Saudi Arabia.

The number of MERS patients throughout the rest of the world is pretty small. But the amount of people suffering from the virus in Saudi Arabia has health experts worried. (Via NTDTV)

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, MERS is a viral respiratory illness that can cause a fever, cough and shortness of breath, among other symptoms. The virus is considered to be even more deadly than SARS.

Now, the MERS virus doesn't spread as quickly as SARS, but scientists are concerned it could mutate into something that can transferred from person to person more easily.

A worry that continues to grow as millions of Muslims prepare to make the Islamic hajj pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca later this year. (Via Nature)

Before Saturday, several cases of what doctors believe were MERS in Egypt were determined to be misdiagnoses, making the male patient in Cairo officially the first case in the country.