World

Punishing heat wave in Egypt kills 76 people, 1,200 hospitalized

Egypt's health minister says 17 more people have died due to an "unprecedented" heat wave, raising this week's death toll to 76.

Health Minister Adel el-Adawy said Thursday that the deaths are mostly among the elderly, and include eight patients of a psychiatric hospital. El-Adawy says 1,205 people are in hospitals being treated for heat exhaustion.

El-Adawy dismissed rumors of a meningitis epidemic when pressed on the escalating death toll.

The Mideast has been in the grip of a heat wave since late July.

Egyptian summers are usually hot, but temperatures this week soared to 46 degrees Celsius (114 degrees Fahrenheit) in the south. Temperatures dropped slightly Thursday.