A woman in Upper Egypt’s Aswan reportedly died from Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), a deadly respiratory virus that appeared in Saudi Arabia in 2012.
Gamila Ibrahim, who just came back from Saudi Arabia after performing the Ummra pilgrimage, is the first Egyptian to die from the MERS, reported Al-Ahram Arabic news website, Ahram Online reported.
According to Al-Ahram, Komombo ambulance refused to transport Ibrahim to the university hospital forcing her family to take her in an ambulance on their own expense to another hospital where she took her last breath in the intensive care.
MERS is considered a deadlier but less-transmissible cousin of the SARS virus that erupted in Asia in 2003 and infected 8,273 people, nine percent of whom died.
The origins of the new syndrome are unclear, although some theories point to the possibility of a virus mutation from animals to humans. Around half of the reported cases of the virus were fatal.
Saudi Arabia, the country worst hit by MERS, has recorded 145 cases, of which 60 have now proved fatal, since the virus first appeared in September 2012.
The World Health Organization says on its website that the WHO has now been told of 182 cases of MERS infection worldwide, and 79 deaths.
Last October, An Egyptian woman in Mansoura was claimed to have died from the MERS virus, however it was later revealed by the ministry of health that she had died from H1N1.
The Ministry of Health has said that back then that Egypt remains free of any MERS cases.