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article imageU.S. MERS case 'did not' spread from human-to-human contact

By Tim Sandle     Jun 1, 2014 in Health
Further blood tests indicate that an Illinois resident who came into close contact with an Indiana MERS patient did not contract the virus. This contradicts a previous announcement.
It was reported a week ago that an Illinois man has contracted the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus from the Indiana patient who was recently hospitalized. This is the first confirmed human-to-human transmission of MERS within the U.S. This news came via the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Now it transpires that the information was incorrect. It turns out that an Indiana Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) patient who brought the disease back from a trip to Saudi Arabia did not transmit the MERS coronavirus (MERS-CoV) to an Illinois business associate.
David Swerdlow, who is leading CDC’s MERS-CoV response, said in a press briefing reported on by The Scientist: "After completing additional and more definitive lab tests, our experts have concluded that the Indiana patient did not transmit the virus to the Illinois resident. While we never want to cause undue concern among those who have had contact with a MERS patient, it is our job to move quickly when there is a potential public health threat. Because there is still much we don’t know about this virus, we will continue to err on the side of caution when responding to and investigating cases of MERS in this country."
MERS causes fever, cough, and shortness of breath. It has a 30 percent morality rate. MERS emerged in Saudi Arabia in 2012 and has sickened 570 people and killed 171 patients in the region, according to the World Health Organization.
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