Egypt reports first MERS case, death toll in Saudi Arabia to 92

By Kyle Johnson,

Egypt reported on Saturday that the country has its first case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, while it was reported that 92 people in Saudi Arabia have now died from the virus.

The patient contracted MERS after traveling to Saudi Arabia according to state television, reports the Los Angeles Times. The news comes shortly after the country said that MERS was likely already in the country.

Egypt's health ministry said that the coronavirus, similar to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, was found in some camels. It is believed that the animals help spread MERS. Though SARS and MERS are similar, the latter is seen as much more deadly, killing one in three who contract the virus.

Those infected will develop flu-like symptoms, such as coughing and a fever, and could possibly even get pneumonia.

MERS has now killed 92 in Saudi Arabia and the country said that they are looking into developing a vaccine, according to Reuters. Health experts, however, see that as an odd move. "There are enormous problems with the idea of a MERS vaccine," virologist Ian Jones, of Reading University, said.

"I can see it works as an appeasement - that they want to say they can make it." He noted that while possible, it is silly to do so from a practical sense. The focus should be on finding a way to stop the virus from spreading beyond animals.

Jones questioned if a vaccine was made, "Who would you vaccinate? Would you vaccinate the whole population when only a tiny number of people seem susceptible?"



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