Iran confirms first two cases of MERS
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[May 27, 2014]
DUBAI (Reuters) - Iranian officials say
they have confirmed the country's first two cases of MERS, a deadly
virus first reported two years ago in Saudi Arabia, its neighbor on the
western side of the Gulf.
Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Corona-Virus (MERS)
causes coughing, fever and sometimes fatal pneumonia, killing an
estimated 30 percent of those who are infected.
There is no vaccine or specific treatment for MERS, which has killed
more than 175 people in Saudi Arabia and spread throughout the
region, also reaching as far as Malaysia, Greece, Lebanon and the
"Four suspected cases of new corona virus infection were observed in
a family in the province of Kerman. Two of these cases were
confirmed in two sisters," said Mohammad Mahdi Gouya, the
director-general of communicable diseases at the Iranian Health
Ministry's Centre for Diseases Control and Prevention.
"One of the sisters is in critical condition and the other is
currently receiving treatment under special circumstances," the
ministry's website quoted him on Monday as saying.
A recent upsurge of infections in Saudi Arabia is of concern because
of the influx of pilgrims from around the world expected in July
during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.
Gouya also said that Tehran had dispatched trained medical teams to
Saudi Arabia, where they studied MERS cases among Iranian Hajj
pilgrims, according to Iran's Press TV.
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Arrangements were being made for Iranian pilgrims to undergo medical
check-ups after they return home, he added.
MERS is a virus from the same family as SARS, or Severe Acute
Respiratory Syndrome, which killed about 800 people worldwide after
it first appeared in China in 2002.
(Reporting by Michelle Moghtader; Editing by William Maclean and
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