MIAMI (CBSMiami/AP) – The second confirmed case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in the U.S. is in Orlando.
“The Florida Department of Health is working closely with hospital officials and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to ensure appropriate care of the patient and protect the health of all residents and visitors in Florida,” said Dr. John Armstrong, State Surgeon General and Secretary of Health. “There is no broad risk to the health of the general public.”
MERS-CoV is a respiratory illness that begins with flu-like fever and cough but can lead to shortness of breath, pneumonia and death. A third of those who develop symptoms die from it.
The man was in Orlando visiting family from Saudi Arabia. Most cases have been in Saudi Arabia or the Middle East. According to the CDC, the man first flew to London, then through Boston and Atlanta, and arrived in Orlando on May 1st. He was hospitalized on May 9th and was placed in isolation once MERS-CoV was suspected.
Passengers from the four flights are being asked to be tested. Five hundred or so passengers are already being notified.
“They’ll be asked to provide a specimen so that they can, we can understand whether they might have even developed infection without even symptoms,” said Ann Schuchat, a doctor with the CDC.
About 150 of the passengers have already tested negative for the virus and the CDC does not anticipate more infections.
“The patient is in good condition and is improving,” said Antonio Crespo, MD, Infectious Disease Specialist and Chief Quality Officer for Dr. P. Phillips Hospital. “We are taking every precaution, but believe the risk of transmission from this patient is very low since his symptoms were mild and he was not coughing when he arrived at the hospital.”
On May 2, 2014, the first U.S. case of MERS-CoV was confirmed in a man who traveled from Saudi Arabia to Indiana.
So far, there have been 402 confirmed cases of MERS-CoV infection in 12 countries. To date, all reported cases have originated in six countries in the Arabian Peninsula. Most of these people developed severe acute respiratory illness, with fever, cough, and shortness of breath; 93 people died. Officials do not know where the virus came from or exactly how it spreads. There is no available vaccine or specific treatment recommended for the virus.
Information on MERS-CoV is available for the public by calling 1-800-232-4636.
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