Second MERS Case Confirmed in the U.S.

Posted on May 12, 2014

MERS  transmission electron micrograph from the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Disease

A second MERS case has been confirmed in the U.S. The patient is a healthcare worker who had been traveling in the Middle East. CNN reports that the patient is in an Orlando, Florida hospital. The patient traveled from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia to London. They then traveled from London to Boston, from Boston to Atlanta and then from Atlanta to Orlando. The patient is reportedly in good condition.

The first U.S. MERS case was a patient in an Indiana hospital. The first patient was also someone who had been traveling in Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia is currently ground zero for the MERS outbreak.

There is no cure for MERS. It is carried by camels, which could a major source of the virus in Saudi Arabia. The virus can also be spread from human to human as evidenced by the sick healthcare workers is Saudi Arabia. The latest total numbers in the MERS outbreak can be found here on VDU's blog. There are 571 MERS cases with 161 fatalies. This is a fatality rate of 28.2%. It is possible that some infected people are asymptomatic and are going undetected which would mean the fatality rate is not quite that high.

A transcript of a CDC briefing about the second U.S. MERS case can be found here.

Photo: National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)