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CDC: Second U.S. MERS Case Confirmed

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May 12, 2014 -- A second patient in the U.S. has been identified as having the potentially deadly virus known as MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome), the CDC announced today.

The patient, like the first one identified earlier this month, is also a health care worker who lives and works in Saudi Arabia. The 44-year-old man was visiting family in the U.S. He is now in good condition in at Dr. P. Phillips Hospital in Orlando. "The patient is isolated and doing well," Tom Frieden, MD, director of the CDC, said at a news conference.

CDC and Florida public health officials declined to identify the new patient. He traveled by plane from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, to London May 1, then on to Boston, Atlanta, and Orlando.

He went to the emergency room on May 8. The CDC confirmed the MERS tests results on Sunday evening. Hospital officials said in a news release that the man's symptoms were mild and that he was not coughing when he came to the hospital. He spent little time in the community before he was admitted, officials said. 

Over the next few days, public health officials will notify roughly 500 passengers who were on the U.S. legs of the flights, alerting them to be aware of possible symptoms and to seek medical help if they notice any. The hospital and Florida public health officials are getting in touch with everyone who had contact with the man in the hospital as well as the Orlando Regional Medical Center. Before he went to the hospital, the man accompanied a patient getting a medical procedure at the center, officials said. 

The general public is at low risk for contracting the virus, said Anne Schuchat, MD, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. She also spoke at the news conference. "The virus has not shown the ability to spread from person to person in a community setting. It has been really universally [found] in people who have had very close contact."

The first U.S. case, a patient visiting Indiana, was confirmed last week. The first patient has recovered and was released from an Indiana hospital May 9. No one in contact with that patient has come down with any MERS symptoms.

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