Via the Orlando Sentinel: 1st MERS virus case reported in Central Florida. Excerpt and then a comment:
The first case of the potentially deadly MERS virus has been reported in Central Florida, health officials said today. It is the second U.S. case, and health officials said additional cases are expected.
The patient, a 44-year-old health-care worker, arrived in Orlando on May 1 from Saudi Arabia. He is “doing well” at Dr. P. Phillips hospital in Orlando.
Health-care officials stressed that the risk to the general public of contracting MERS is very low. They set up a local hot line — 407-858-1490 — for anyone who has questions.
The patient had flown from Saudi Arabia to London, Boston, Atlanta and then Orlando. According to officials from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 500 passengers on U.S. segments of those flights were exposed and are being notified.
The patient, a resident of Saudi Arabia, was visiting family in Central Florida and did not attend local tourist attractions.
“The patient is in good condition and is improving,” said Dr. Antonio Crespo, an infectious disease specialist and chief quality officer for Dr. P. Phillips Hospital, part of Orlando Health. “We are taking every precaution, but 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.”
For privacy reasons, his name and further identifying details are not being released.
The man sought help at the Dr. Phillips emergency room late on May 8 and was hospitalized May 9. He was placed in isolation once MERS was suspected. He remains there in stable condition and is expected to make a full recovery, Crespo said.
Officials from the Florida Department of Health and the CDC are underway to make contact with any individuals who had close contact with the patient during travel or in the Orlando area. Health officials said we can expect to see more cases in the United States.