|Dr. P Phillips Hospital in Orlando, Fl;|
Site of second US MERS case. (image from g+)
A 44 year old man visiting family in Orlando, Florida has been hospitalized after travelling from Saudi Arabia where he is employed as a health care worker. He is reportedly in stable condition and improving.
The man flew from Jeddah on April 30 via London, then through the US cities of Boston, Massachusetts and Atlanta, Georgia before arriving in Orlando, Florida on May 1.
The man reportedly showed symptoms on the flight, including a fever, slight cough and chills but did not wear a mask. A week later he sought medical treatment for the illness at the Dr. P Phillips Emergency Room in Orlando.
Sixteen hospital workers who may have been exposed to the virus are on paid leave and asked to remain at home. The man's family has been placed in quarantine.
The flight numbers he travelled on have not been released, but officials are attempting to reach approximately 500 fellow passengers who may have been in contact with the man en route to the US cities.
"Our experience with MERS so far suggests that the risk to the general public is low, said Tom Frieden of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CIDRAP). But stressed that, "We're doing everything possible to find others who had contact with this person.
MERS patients often develop symptoms within five days but they can present up to fourteen days after exposure. Since it has been nearly two weeks since he travelled, exposed contacts would have probably shown signs by now.
According to Dr. Anne Schuchat, Assistant Surgeon General, "It's likely if you haven't developed symptoms yet, you're not going to."
Local residents who have concerns about MERS can reach a dedicated Health Department Hotline at 407-858-1490.
The first US MERS case involved an Indiana man who also was a health care worker and had recently travelled from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The man has since recovered and has been released.
MERS was first identified in April of 2012 and most cases have originated in the Arabian Peninsula, with Saudi Arabia the hardest hit.
The World Health Organization says 229 new cases were reported in Saudi Arabia between April 11 and May 4. The Saudi Minister of Health reports 491 cases of the virus to date in the Kingdom, 147 of those have died.
Jordan has reported three additional cases this month and three new countries were added to the list where MERS has been found.
Egypt, Yemen and the US all reported their first MERS patients in the last few weeks. All had recently traveled to the Middle East and most had direct links with Saudi Arabia.
Flutrackers.com shows sixteen countries have reported MERS infections. Here is an unofficial count of MERS infections by country:
Saudi Arabia: 491 cases / 147 deaths
UAE: 56 cases / 7 deaths
Qatar: 9 cases / 4 deaths
Jordan: 8 cases / 4 deaths
Kuwait, Tunisia: 3 cases each / 0 deaths
Italy, UK, US, Oman, Egypt: 2 cases each / 1 death in UK
Lebanon, Yemen, France, Greece, Malaysia: 1 case each / 1 death in Yemen
This makes a total of 585 cases worldwide, with 164 fatalities or about 28% of those infected.