Fatal MERS virus carried to Greece from Saudi Arabia

Authorities found on Monday an Athenian taxi driver who picked up a passenger arriving from Saudi Arabia on Thursday while suffering from a rare respiratory disease that has killed dozens.

The passenger, a 69-year-old Greek man who lives in Saudi Arabia, was diagnosed with Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and is being treated in a negative pressure room at an Athens hospital.

Officials at the Hellenic Center for Disease Control & Prevention (KEELPNO) and the National Health Operations Center (EKEPY) soon tracked down the airline passengers that sat near the 69-year-old and those he came into contact with in Greece, where he visited family in Piraeus. However, they only located the cabbie who picked him up from Athens International Airport on Monday.

The driver did not have any symptoms of MERS, a SARS-like coronavirus that emerged in Saudi Arabia two years ago and has killed 76 people there.

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