A second case of MERS-CoV has been confirmed in the United States. The patient lives and works as a healthcare provider in Saudi Arabia. The patient arrived in the US from Saudi Arabia on May 1st and presented to an Orlando, Florida emergency room with a fever and respiratory symptoms on May 8th. The patient experienced symptoms during his flights from Saudi Arabia to London, England; London to Boston, Massachusetts; Boston to Atlanta, Georgia; and finally, from Atlanta to Orlando, Florida. The CDC and local health officials are contacting travelers who may have come into contact with the infected patient. As with the case in Indiana, the patient’s family is voluntarily quarantining themselves at home. The patient is still hospitalized and in good condition.
MERS does not pose a risk to the general public. Evidence suggests that close contact with infected individuals—such as care givers—is needed for transmission. Because antiviral therapy or vaccines aren’t currently available, infection control procedures and rapid detection are our only weapons against MERS.
For more information about this virus, its appearance in the US, and specimen requirements from suspected cases, visit Lab Medicine’s MERS information page.