By Nolan Feeney
April 26, 2014

Egypt has identified its first case of the often deadly Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) virus, the country’s health ministry announced on state media Saturday.

The 27-year-old patient, who is in stable condition at a Cairo hospital, had been living in Saudi Arabia, Reuters reports.

With more 313 confirmed infections, Saudi Arabia has been hit the hardest by the virus, which can cause fever, coughing and pneumonia and has more than a 40 percent death rate among confirmed cases.

Although the number of MERS patients worldwide is relatively small, the recent, rapid spread of the virus within Saudi Arabia has concerned health workers.

Scientists are unsure of the virus’ exact origins but believe it may have spread from camels. The virus does not spread as quickly as the similar SARS virus and could die out on its own, but scientists warn it could also mutate into something more easily spread, especially as millions of Muslims make a pilgrimage to Mecca later this year.

[Reuters]

Write to Nolan Feeney at nolan.feeney@time.com.

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