“The second round of test results from oral and
nasal swabs show the Illinois resident is not infectious,” said Dr.
Hasbrouck. “What this means is, although the resident was infected
at one time, if he sneezes or coughs, the virus is not in his nose
or mouth and therefore cannot be spread to others. The risk of
MERS-CoV to the general public remains very low. We will continue
to follow-up with this individual.”
Health officials first tested this person using
oral and nasal swabs for active MERS-CoV infection on May 5. Those
test results were negative. On May 16, a blood test result was
positive for the Illinois resident, showing that he had antibodies
to MERS-CoV. Over the weekend, the resident was again tested using
oral and nasal swabs and those have come back negative. Additional
blood testing related to his positive MERS-CoV antibody test result
is currently underway.
Health officials continue to follow-up with
anyone who had close contact with the Illinois resident. Family
members who had close contact with the Illinois resident have all
tested negative, but will continue to be monitored.
The Illinois resident is considered to have had
close contact with the first imported case in the United States, a
Saudi Arabian resident who traveled to Indiana on April 24. All
people considered to have had close contact with first case have
been followed-up with and closely monitored.
“MERS-CoV is a relatively new virus and we
still have much to learn about it, including how it is transmitted.
The World Health Organization, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention, state health departments and local health departments
continue to investigate this virus as well as identify new cases
around the world, conduct testing and implement infection control
practices,” said Dr. Hasbrouck. “Additional cases are expected, but
we are working diligently to eliminate the spread of this virus.”
[to top of second column]
As with other respiratory illnesses, IDPH
recommends people take everyday preventive actions like
washing their hands often; avoiding touching their face with
unwashed hands; avoiding contact with people who appear sick;
and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces.
IDPH has reactivated the expert medical staff
at Illinois Poison Center to operate the MERS-CoV hotline. Illinois
residents and medical professionals who have concerns or questions
should call 1-844 565-0256.
For more information about the infected individual and the two
confirmed MERS-CoV cases in the U.S., visit
www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/mers/index.html. General information
about MERS-CoV can be found on the
IDPH website, including
Frequently Asked Questions.
[By Melaney Arnold, ILLINOIS
DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALT]
IDPH continues to implement its
Five Year Strategy 2014-2018 to maximize IDPH’s effectiveness,
influence and value for promoting wellness, health equity, safety
and improved health outcomes. Strategic plan priorities include
developing and expanding partnerships; improving data utilization;
reducing health disparities; improving regulatory compliance; and
branding, marketing and communicating IDPH’s value.