An Illinois man has tested positive for MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome), and is the third person reported ill with MERS in the United States after a person in Indiana and Florida tested positive for the virus.
The Illinois resident is the first person to test positive for MERS while in the United States. The other two patients were men who had worked in healthcare in Saudi Arabia and then traveled back to the United States.
The Illinois resident was in close contact with the Indiana MERS patient who had traveled from Saudi Arabia to O’Hare to Indiana last month. The two men had a business meeting sometime after the Indiana patient arrived at O’Hare, but before the Indiana man traveled by bus to Munster and got sick there.
The Illinois resident is not hospitalized because he only started to show allergy-like symptoms that did not require supportive hospital or physician care. His illness was detected because he was on a May 3rd monitoring list of people that had been in close contact with the Indiana patient.
Officially, the World Health Organization is not counting the Illinois resident as a MERS case because the antibody test administered to him is not the official test that is required to make that classification. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) believes he has contracted the virus.
Interestingly there is no mandatory quarantine for the infected Illinois man; the CDC has asked the patient to “self-isolate.”
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced Friday, May 2, 2014 the first case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in the U.S. The health care worker who traveled from Saudi Arabia, was on a flight Thursday, April 24, 2014 from London to Chicago O’Hare International Airport, and then took a bus to Munster, Indiana. On Friday, a lab test confirmed he was infected with MERS-CoV.
The virus, characterized by symptoms of fever and respiratory symptoms, such as shortness of breath and cough, first appeared two years ago in Saudi Arabia, and has a mortality rate is as high as 30 percent.