3rd U.S. Patient Comes Down with Deadly MERS Virus

An American who had contact with an Indiana health-care worker infected with a potentially lethal Middle Eastern virus was found to have the disease, though he had no symptoms and didn’t require medical care.

The latest case, located in Illinois, is the third confirmed on U.S. soil, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a statement.

The original U.S. case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus, or MERS-CoV, involved a person who returned April 24 from Saudi Arabia. That patient was successfully treated in a U.S. hospital and has since been released.

The newest patient, whom the CDC didn’t identify, “did not seek or require medical care,” the agency said.

Local health officials in Illinois have been monitoring the new patient’s health daily since May 3 as part of the CDC’s review of the outbreak, the agency said. The man met with the Indiana patient twice since he returned from Saudi Arabia.

The Illinois patient was first tested for MERS on May 5 and results were negative. A subsequent test turned up positive for MERS antibodies on May 16, though the man never reported feeling sick and is still “feeling well,” the CDC said.

The coronavirus has infected 572 people worldwide, with 173 deaths, according to the CDC and the World Health Organization. The virus was first identified in Saudi Arabia in 2012; its origin is unknown and it’s not clear how it spreads. Health-care workers who treat infected people and others in close contact with them appear to be at the highest risk of contracting the illness.

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SOURCE: Alex Wayne 

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