Via CIDRAP, Lisa Schnirring writes: US detects 2nd MERS case; Saudi Arabia has 18 more. Excerpt:
The new US patient started having mild symptoms such as fever, chills, and a slight cough on May 1 on a flight from Jeddah to London, the first flight of a four-leg trip to visit family in the Orlando area, CDC officials said at a press telebriefing.
He sought care in the emergency department of an Orlando hospital on May 9 and was admitted. Florida health officials said the man was placed in isolation once MERS-CoV was suspected. The patient's sample tested positive at a Florida lab, with the finding confirmed by the CDC yesterday.
When asked about potential community exposures between the time the patient arrived in Orlando on May 1 and was hospitalized on May 9, John Armstrong, MD, Florida's state surgeon and secretary of health, said at the briefing that the patient remained in Orlando, did not visit any theme parks, and that health officials are tracing any other links. Florida media outlets said the man is 44 years old.
Antonio Crespo, MD, infectious disease specialist at Dr. Phillips Hospital in Orlando, said in a press release from the Florida Department of Health (FDH) today that the patient is in good condition and improving. "We are taking every precaution, but we believe the risk of transmission from this patient is very low since his symptoms were mild and he was not coughing when he arrived at the hospital." The hospital is a full-service 237-bed medical-surgical facility in southwestern Orange County.
Today's announcement of another MERS case in the US comes just 3 days after the first patient, a healthcare worker in his 60s, was discharged from a Munster, Ind., hospital.
At the briefing, CDC director Tom Frieden, MD, MPH, said that though the two cases are similar, there are no epidemiologic links between them. He said the patient hospitalized in Orlando worked in a hospital in Jeddah that has treated MERS cases, though it's not clear if he had cared for any of them. The health worker that was hospitalized in Indiana worked in a Riyadh hospital.
Recent hospital clusters of cases have occurred in both cities, and an expert team from the World Health Organization that recently traveled to the country to probe the gush of infections that began in March said the hospital outbreaks appear to be amplifying what may be a seasonal increase in MERS activity.