Officials: 2nd US case of MERS being reported

Health officials have confirmed a second U.S. case of a mysterious virus that has sickened hundreds in the Middle East.

A news conference to discuss the case has been scheduled for Monday afternoon by the Florida Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The virus is MERS, or Middle East Respiratory Syndrome. It 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.

Most cases have been in Saudi Arabia or the Middle East. But earlier this month a first U.S. case was diagnosed in a man who traveled from Saudi Arabia to Indiana.

The man has been hospitalized in Indiana state since April 28. Officials said he fell ill with Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, or MERS, after flying to the U.S. last month from Saudi Arabia, where he is a health care worker.

Overall, at least 400 people have had the respiratory illness, and more than 100 people have died. All had ties to the Middle East region or to people who traveled there.

Officials say MERS isn't highly contagious, but there is no cure. MERS belongs to the coronavirus family that includes the common cold and SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome, which caused some 800 deaths globally in 2003.

The patient in Indiana is an American citizen, a spokesman for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday. The World Health Organization said he was in his 60s.

Officials did not immediately release other details about the newest case.

 

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