Hospital Workers Test Negative For MERS Virus
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[May 16, 2014]
MIAMI (Reuters) - All of the
healthcare workers who came into contact with a patient in Florida who
was suffering from Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) have tested
negative for the often-deadly virus, state health officials said on
The patient, who is hospitalized in Orlando, Florida, is the
second confirmed MERS case in the United States.
The Florida Department of Health said in a statement that the man is
improving but remains hospitalized at the Dr. P. Phillips Hospital.
The patient initially spent 12 hours in the hospital's emergency
department before he was moved to an isolation room, raising
concerns about whether healthcare workers who had contact with him
may have become infected.
MERS causes coughing, fever and sometimes fatal pneumonia, killing
an estimated 30 percent of those who are infected.
It is a virus from the same family as SARS, or Severe Acute
Respiratory Syndrome, which killed around 800 people worldwide after
it first appeared in China in 2002.
Scientists have limited understanding about how the MERS virus
spreads, but healthcare workers have proven particularly vulnerable
because of their close contact with infected patients.
Both U.S. cases involved healthcare workers who had spent time in
hospitals in Saudi Arabia, where MERS infection rates have surged in
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Florida health officials said there is no threat of MERS infection
for people traveling to the Orlando area.
(Reporting by Kevin Gray; Editing by Ken Wills)
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