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Beirut -

Lebanon's Health Ministry says it has recorded the country's first case of the Middle East respiratory virus.

It says the potentially fatal virus was detected in a man who had checked into a local hospital after feeling ill. It says the man's case was not severe, and he has since been discharged.

A ministry official said on Friday the patient had recently returned from a visit to several Gulf countries, including Saudi Arabia.

The kingdom has been the focal point of the outbreak of the virus, known as the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).

MERS belongs to a family of viruses that include both the common cold and SARS, which killed 800 people in a global outbreak in 2003. It can cause symptoms including fever, breathing problems, pneumonia and kidney failure. - Sapa-AP