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First Mers death in Algeria; victim returned from Mecca recently

Published on Jun 11, 2014 8:54 AM
An Asian Muslim pilgrim wears a nose and mouth mask on his way to Islam's holiest shrine, the Kaaba, in the Grand Mosque in the Saudi city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia on May 27, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP

ALGIERS (AFP) - An Algerian man in his fifties has died of the MERS virus, the first such fatality in the country, the health ministry announced on Tuesday.

The 59-year-old victim was among the first two cases of the deadly Middle East Respiratory Syndrome virus to be discovered in Algeria late last month. Both men had just returned from a pilgrimage to Muslim holy sites in Saudi Arabia, where most cases and deaths from the disease have been reported.

The unnamed man died after 11 days in hospital in the town of Tlemcen, 600 kilometres west of Algiers, following a deterioration of his vital functions overnight on Monday.

The condition of the second confirmed MERS case, a 66-year-old man hospitalised in Kolea near Algiers, is improving, the health ministry said.

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