Second US case of MERS confirmed in FL

St. Petersburg, Florida -- MERS, also known as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, is the virus that was first reported in the Middle East in 2012. 538 cases have been confirmed worldwide, with 145 deaths.

This month, the first U.S. case was confirmed after an infected Saudi health care worker flew to the U.S. and took a bus to Indiana. Now, a second case has been confirmed in Florida. On May 8, the infected patient checked into Philips Hospital in Orlando.

"The patient is isolated in the hospital and doing well," said Tom Frieden, director of U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

Just like the Indiana case, the Orlando case is a health care worker from Saudi Arabia, where the majority of cases have been confirmed.

The unidentified patient took four flights, starting in Jaddah, Saudi Arabia, to London, then to Boston, then Atlanta and finally to Orlando. Her reportedly experienced fever, chills and a slight cough, symptoms common to MERS.

The U.S. Surgeon General has contacted people who were on the flights of both of the infected patients.

"We have already started working with Saudi officials and with investigators in Britain to identify people who came into contact with the two infected persons and monitor any signs or symptoms of infection," said Asst. U.S. Surgeon General Anne Schuchat, M.D.

Right now, the CDC is ramping up efforts to understand the virus and control it. Health officials say the illness is not easy to contract. In almost all cases, its transmitted through close personal contact, like between family members, and patient to doctor or nurse, but the risk to the general public is low.


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