A SPANISH woman has become the first in the country to contract a new respiratory virus which broke out last year.

She became ill during a trip to Saudi Arabia last month, and was thought to have contracted pneumonia.

The Moroccan-born Spanish resident was admitted to a Madrid hospital upon her return to Spain, where she was diagnosed with Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), which is related to the SARS virus.

Around 50 people have died from MERS since its outbreak in Saudi Arabia last year.

Medics say the woman is recovering, and her case poses no public health threat.

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