Egypt probes suspected Mers death

CAIRO (REUTERS) - A person suspected to have been suffering from Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (Mers) has died in the Egyptian city of Port Said, the state television channel Nile News reported on Monday, quoting a Health Ministry official.

The report said the cause of death, which would be Egypt's first from the disease, had yet to be confirmed.

The Mers coronavirus emerged in Saudi Arabia in 2012 and is from the same family as the Sars virus, which killed around 800 people worldwide after first appearing in China in 2002. Mers can cause coughing, fever and pneumonia.

Authorities last week reported Egypt's first case, a person who had recently returned from Saudi Arabia and was being treated at a hospital in Cairo.

Mers has no vaccine or anti-viral treatment, but international and Saudi health authorities say it does not transmit easily between people and may simply die out.

Scientists say the most likely animal reservoir, from which new cases are becoming infected, is Saudi Arabia's population of camels. Saudi Arabia has recorded 411 cases and 112 deaths so far, its Health Ministry said in a statement on Saturday.