Middle East

Algeria confirms first MERS cases

Two pilgrims test positive after returning from Saudi Arabia, where 187 people have died from the virus.

Last updated: 31 May 2014 19:41
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The two men were among pilgrims returning from Saudi Arabia [AP]

Two Algerians have tested positive for the deadly Middle East Respiratory Syndrome virus, after returning from pilgrimages to Saudi Arabia.

The Algerian health ministry confirmed the cases on Saturday but did not give the condition of the men, aged 66 and 59.

Other countries including Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Iran, the Netherlands, the United Arab Emirates and the US have also recorded cases, mostly in people who had been to Saudi Arabia.

MERS has killed 187 people in Saudi Arabia since it first emerged in 2012. Hundreds more have been infected.

Studies have confirmed that the likely source of the disease is among Saudi Arabia's huge camel herd.

The virus attacks the respiratory system, causing a lung infection, with patients suffering coughing, breathing difficulties and a temperature. It also causes rapid kidney failure.


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