ORLANDO (CBSMiami/AP) – While a man from Saudi Arabia recovers in an Orlando hospital with the second confirmed case of MERS, two health workers at the Orlando hospital where he was admitted are being evaluated for the disease.
The medical workers at Dr. Phillips Hospital were exposed to the patient in the emergency department before it became clear that the patient might have the Middle East Respiratory Virus.
Speaking at a news conference in Orlando, Dr. Ken Michaels said the health care workers who were potentially exposed are being evaluated, adding one is in the hospital under evaluation and the other is at home undergoing monitoring.
Another 15 workers, along with five workers from a second Orlando hospital where the patient visited, have been asked to stay home from work for two weeks until they are cleared of having the virus. They are awaiting results from the CDC. If no cases are reported, all of the workers can return to duties after the two week quarantine period is over.
Meantime, the man hospitalized in Orlando with a confirmed case of MERS is a 44-year-old health care worker from Saudi Arabia.
Officials at Dr. Phillips Hospital said Tuesday that the Saudi resident still has a low-grade fever and is being treated in isolation but he is in good spirits.
The first U.S. case of MERS was confirmed in early May in Indiana.
That patient is also a health care provider who had been in Saudi Arabia. He has been released from the hospital.
According to the CDC, MERS comes from the same group of viruses as the common cold and attacks the respiratory system.
Symptoms may include fever, cough and shortness of breath, and can lead to pneumonia and kidney failure.
A third of those who develop symptoms die from it.
So far, there have been 402 confirmed cases of MERS 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 is available for the public by calling 1-800-232-4636.
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