An update from the Orlando Sentinel: 1st MERS case reported in Central Florida. Excerpt:
The man's family members and hospital workers who had contact with him are being monitored for signs of the disease. Following protocol from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the exposed hospital workers are being placed on temporary paid leave and asked to stay home.
CDC officials said Monday they expected additional MERS cases in the United States because of a recent spike in cases in the Arabian Peninsula, primarily in Saudi Arabia. The virus was first identified there in 2012.
Florida Department of Health officials in Orlando emphasized that the patient — whose name is not being released for privacy reasons — did not visit local theme parks or other tourist spots. Local residents who have questions or concerns can call a dedicated Health Department hotline at 407-858-1490.
In the current case, the patient left Saudi Arabia April 30 and began experiencing muscle aches, health officials said. He flew first to London, then to Boston and Atlanta before arriving in Orlando on May 1. By then, he had a slight fever, and he later developed diarrhea and ultimately a cough. According to CDC officials, more than 500 passengers on U.S. segments of those flights were exposed and are being notified.
So far, no one exposed to the man has reported symptoms, which typically take five to 14 days to develop.
Dr. Kevin Sherin, director of the state Health Department for Orange County, said only those who have had some contact with an infected individual are at risk.
"If they weren't in Saudi Arabia or had exposure to someone from Saudi Arabia, I don't know that [we] would even start thinking about MERS …," he said. "We would probably [suspect] flu."
The patient was placed in isolation once MERS was suspected. He remains there in stable condition and is expected to make a full recovery, Crespo said. The virus was confirmed through a series of laboratory tests on blood and other bodily fluids.
Assuming this is an accurate account of the progress of his illness, the man was infected sometime between April 16 and 26. The 16th was the day that Malaysia announced the death of a returned Umrah pilgrim and the Philippines announced the asymptomatic nurse whose colleague in Abu Dhabi had died. The total tally then, less than four weeks ago, was 205 cases and 71 deaths.