Another MERS Virus Case Confirmed in the US

Another person in the United States has tested positive for the MERS virus, but this case is unique.

The man, who is from Illinois, is believed to have contracted the virus from the Indiana man, a healthcare worker who was the first confirmed case in the US.

Public health officials contacted healthcare workers, family members, and travelers who had close contact with the Indiana man. The Illinois case is the first that originated in the US.

From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

The Illinois resident met with the Indiana MERS patient on two occasions shortly before the patient was identified as having MERS-CoV infection. The Illinois resident did not seek or require medical care. However, local health officials have monitored his health daily since May 3 as part of the investigation. The health department first tested this person for active MERS-CoV infection on May 5. Those results were negative. Public health officials are also collecting blood samples from people who were identified as close contacts of the Indiana patient. On May 16, the test result was positive for the Illinois resident, showing that he has antibodies to MERS-CoV.

The Illinois man has not experienced any symptoms and is reported to feeling fine, which is not unusual: the virus has been detected in others (outside of the US) who never developed symptoms or became ill.

Last week, a man who was visiting Florida from Saudi Arabia tested positive for MERS as well.

The CDC says the public is not at high risk and the virus is not easy to pass from person to person – officials believe it is only spread through close contact. The Indiana man and the Illinois man are said to have been in the same business meeting, where their only contact was a brief handshake.

Will the MERS virus continue to spread in the US? It doesn’t sound like health officials are too concerned, but just in case, it couldn’t hurt to be prepared.


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