Via NPR's Shots blog: Deadly MERS Virus Detected In Florida. Excerpt:
The second U.S. case of a dangerous new virus from the Middle East has been found in Florida, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday.
The patient is a health care worker from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, who developed symptoms May 1, while traveling to Orlando, Fla., to visit family, the CDC said.
MERS is a life-threatening respiratory infection that first emerged on the Arabian Peninsula in 2012. The virus is related to one that cause the common cold and SARS, which sparked a worldwide alarm in 2003.
So far, there have been about 538 MERS cases reported globally, including 148 deaths. Most cases have occurred in Saudi Arabia. But travelers have carried the virus to other parts of the world, including the U.K., France and Malaysia.
State and federal health officials are working to make sure the virus does not spread in Florida, CDC Director Thomas Frieden said in a telephone briefing for reporters. But there's no reason for widespread alarm.
"Our experience with MERS, so far, suggests the risk to the public is extremely low," Frieden said. The virus doesn't appear to spread easily from one person to another, he added.
Nevertheless, officials are tracking down hundreds of people who may have had contact with the patient during flights to London, Boston, Atlanta and Orlando.
The man developed a fever, chills and a slight cough during the first flight. He was admitted to a hospital after seeking care at an emergency room. He didn't visit Disney World before getting admitted to the hospital, the CDC said.
The man is now in isolation. But he's doing well, officials said. No additional information about the patient has been released.
Well, we know a little more: He's reportedly 44 years old and works in a health facility that also treats MERS patients. His citizenship seems uncertain at this point. And he's in Dr. P. Phillips Hospital in Orlando. Florida Health has issued a news release about the patient.