As of May 2014, a total of 538 laboratory-confirmed cases and 145 deaths have been attributed to the MERS virus. Two cases have been reported in the U.S.
Handout / Reuters
Coronaviruses are part of a large family of viruses that cause anything from the common cold to the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) that impacted the world in the early 2000s.
FAYEZ NURELDINE / AFP / Getty Images
FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP / Getty Images
Other animals, including goats, cows, sheep, swine, and wild birds have been tested for MERS-CoV antibodies, but so far none have been found, which leads scientists to believe camels are a likely source for the virus that is infecting humans.
The Associated Press
“In this interconnected world we live in, we expected MERS-CoV to make its way to the United States,” said Dr. Tom Frieden, director at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “We have been preparing since 2012 for this possibility.”
This second confirmed U.S. case is not linked to the first case of MERS that was reported in Indiana earlier this month. Both men worked in close contact with infected MERS patients in Saudi Arabia hospitals.
Jim Young / Reuters
“As you’ve heard, MERS-CoV is not easy to spread, and there is no broad risk presented to the public from this case identified in Orange County. This event reminds all of us about three ways to stay well and prevent the spread of infection,” said Dr. John Armstrong, Florida’s state surgeon general and secretary of health. “Washing your hands routinely, keeping your hands away from your eyes, nose and mouth, and staying home when sick.”
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“We’ve had over 500 cases reported. We have not had a single case that’s known to be transmitted in an airplane,” Dr. Marty Cetron from the CDC said.
The CDC is currently conducting airline contact tracing and plan to identify and notify U.S. travelers who might have been exposed to the infected patient during travel.
“There’s a lot more we have to learn,” he said. “I think we’ve learned some over the past two years, but there’s still plenty of gaps to fill.”
Travelers who develop a fever and respiratory illness within 14 days after traveling in or near the Arabian Peninsula should call ahead to their health care provider and mention their recent travel.
T. Jasarevic / WHO
Three quarters of all primary community cases have been male, the majority of whom have been over 50 years old.
World Health Organization said Wednesday spread of MERS virus isn’t yet a worldwide health emergency.