Second Case of MERS Confirmed in the U.S.

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced today that a second American patient has been diagnosed with Middle East respiratory syndrome, or MERS, a contagious, deadly virus that has been spreading across the Middle East, killing dozens of people.

An American patient was diagnosed with MERS for the first time last month in Indiana. According to the CDC, that patient has fully recovered and the two are not linked: 

Both patients were reportedly infected outside of the U.S., according to CNN

The Indiana patient was an American health care provider who had been working in Saudi Arabia and was on a planned visit to Indiana to see his family. The Florida patient is also a health care provider who lives and works in Saudi Arabia, said Dr. Anne Schuchat, assistant surgeon general with the U.S. Public Health Service and director of the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. 

USA Today added that the second patient made a number of stops before reaching the States. The unidentified passenger left Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on May 1 and went through London, Boston, and Atlanta before finally reaching Orlando. Every passenger the patient has been in contact with is under investigation, though officials say it's unlikely that the disease has been transmitted.

Though the coronavirus can be extremely contagious, an infected person must be in close contact with another to transfer the virus. According to the CDC, the isolated incidents do not pose a risk to the general U.S. public:

MERS symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath.  Roughly thirty percent of MERS patients have succumbed to the illness since it was first reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012, according to the CDC. There have been 496 cases worldwide, with nearly 150 deaths, including some in U.A.E., Egypt, and Jordan.

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