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Illinois Man Tests Positive for MERS as More Deaths Noted in Saudi Arabia

Health & Wellness  (tags: America, MERS virus, disease, government, health, healthcare, investigation, medicine, research, safety, science, society )

- 1469 days ago -
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said tests completed Friday showed the Illinois man had probably become infected with the virus after having close contact twice with the known MERS sufferer, but added that he had not sought [....]

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Kit B (276)
Sunday May 18, 2014, 5:48 am
Image source: Jennifer L. Harcourt -- Human serum antibodies react with MERS-CoV-infected Vero cells, indicating the patient has been infected with MERS-CoV.

Federal health officials said Saturday that an Illinois man has tested positive for the mysterious Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) after having contact with a patient in Indiana believed to have been the first to be diagnosed with the virus.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said tests completed Friday showed the Illinois man had probably become infected with the virus after having close contact twice with the known MERS sufferer, but added that he had not sought or required medical care and was said to be feeling well.

A second U.S. case was confirmed last week in Florida, where a man who had visited Saudi Arabia was being treated. Most cases of MERS have occurred in Saudi Arabia or elsewhere in the Middle East.

Meanwhile, health authorities in Saudi Arabia reported three more fatalities from the virus on Saturday, taking the death toll in the country to 163.

The health ministry website also revealed on Saturday that 520 cases have been recorded in the country since MERS first appeared in Saudi Arabia in 2012. It said three women died on Friday, including one in Riyadh and a 67-year-old in the western city of Taif.

A third woman died in Jeddah, the port city where a spate of cases among staff at King Fahd Hospital last month sparked public panic and the dismissal of its director and the health minister.

Other nations including Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, the Netherlands and the United Arab Emirates have also recorded cases, mostly in people who had been to the desert kingdom.

On Wednesday, the World Health Organization (WHO) said its emergency committee, which includes global medical and policy experts, had flagged mounting concerns about the potentially fatal virus.

The international body called on countries to improve infection prevention and control. WHO also appealed for more data on MERS and for vigilance in preventing it from spreading to vulnerable countries, notably in Africa.

But it has so far stopped short of declaring an international health emergency, which would have far-reaching implications such as travel and trade restrictions on affected countries.

Wire services and Al Jazeera America


Jonathan Smithsonian (3)
Sunday May 18, 2014, 6:36 am

. (0)
Sunday May 18, 2014, 9:05 am

Arielle S (313)
Sunday May 18, 2014, 10:27 am
Not to belittle this but three people are infected and it's big news. How many died by guns yesterday? How many died in hospitals because they got the wrong medicine? How many died in traffic accidents? How many oil spills were there, how much climate change happened just yesterday, how many bees are dying, etc. etc. etc. It just feels to me as if there are created diversions to get people thinking about one thing when they should be thinking about other things....

Kit B (276)
Sunday May 18, 2014, 12:40 pm

It's a big deal because the CDC is concerned about watching each new developing strain of virus before it can become a pandemic.

Betty Kelly (4)
Sunday May 18, 2014, 1:26 pm
We must locate and treat or quarnteen people exposed to keep it from spreading.

Sheryl G (360)
Sunday May 18, 2014, 1:39 pm
We are starting to get very dangerous strains and our antibiotics are also becoming less effective. This is not at all good. Kit is correct, we need to stop a pandemic that we haven't seen since the 1918 Flu Pandemic.

The influenza pandemic of 1918-1919 killed more people than World War I, at somewhere between 20 and 40 million people. It has been cited as the most devastating epidemic in recorded world history. More people died of influenza in that single year than in four-years of the Black Death Bubonic Plague from 1347 to 1351. Think about it.

Lois Jordan (63)
Sunday May 18, 2014, 2:48 pm
Noted. Thanks for posting, Kit. Yes, it is very concerning. This is so much more easily spread due to air travel.

Laurie H (817)
Sunday May 18, 2014, 8:42 pm
So Many Thanks for this article Kit, as this illness is very unsettling to hear about. Interesting to note about the one man who was exposed & infected with the virus. He seemed to fare well, his immune system seemed to fight it off. Wonder what made the difference. ~~~

Anita R (2)
Monday May 19, 2014, 1:53 am
Badly written article. They might at least tell us what "MERS" is! Never heard of it!

Panchali Yapa (26)
Monday May 19, 2014, 3:26 am
Thank you

Jonathan Harper (0)
Monday May 19, 2014, 4:34 am

Beth S (330)
Monday May 19, 2014, 5:33 pm
And the Arabs are out there kissing their camels to show their divine protection and disbelief of seriousness of MERS. (

Mohammed, the founder of Islam, told his followers to drink camel urine to heal them. People are still doing this.

Take a lot of Vitamin D3, people.

MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) is a cousin of SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), a coronavirus, which is proving to be more lethal than SARS. There is still no vaccine for SARS.

It is not known whether the Saudi hospitals were following generally accepted good hygiene practice, wearing gloves, mask, hand-washing, etc.

The Saudis have suppressed news about the spread of the disease.

"Saudi Sniffs at Spreading Health Crisis

The Kingdom is accused of suppressing the spread of news about the deadly MERS virus, but failing to stop the spread of the virus itself

Saudi Arabia’s doctors are having no luck stopping the deadly Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) virus from sweeping the country, but the government is doing much better at preventing news of the disease from spreading.

In an effort to control information related to the virus spreading across the country, the government has ordered Saudi media outlets to quote only official sources on the disease. In parallel, the Saudi Ministry of Health issued a notice last week threatening health workers with prison for disclosing any health ministry information.

With each passing day, the number of reported cases of MERS, known in the kingdom as “coronavirus,” is growing—and along with it, public anxiety. According to experts, over the last month, MERS cases in Saudi Arabia have jumped from between one and three cases a day to more than 10 new cases reported daily. While these numbers are alarming, they may in fact be just the tip of the iceberg, and health professionals are frustrated that the true scale of the crisis is being held back from the public.

Despite threats against them, some Saudi doctors have taken to social media to share information and allegations. Dr. Saud Almaslmani, an orthopedic surgeon at King Abdulaziz Hospital in Jeddah, tweeted to his followers that it has been forbidden to write on coronavirus as the cause of death."

Patsy Olive (0)
Monday May 19, 2014, 6:41 pm

Kathleen R (138)
Tuesday May 20, 2014, 6:00 pm
noted & read, thanks
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