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Second U.S. Case Of MERS Virus Discovered

A second U.S. MERS case was confirmed Monday. The patient is a Florida health care worker believed to have treated MERS patients in Saudi Arabia.
Posted at 4:07 PM, May 12, 2014

A second case of the mysterious MERS virus has been discovered in Florida. This comes after a man in Indiana was released from the hospital Friday following treatment for the first known MERS case in the U.S. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome seems to have developed in Saudi Arabia. In a conference call, the CDC said both patients in the U.S. recently traveled to the Middle Eastern country, where it's believed they contracted the virus. (Via WTHI)

The World Health Organization says as of earlier this month, 111 people had tested positive for the virus since mid-March. Experts with the WHO believe camels are the main cause for the spread of the virus, although that is not definitively known.

One doctor explained: "Until we better understand how the virus transmits from camels or the environment to a human, we are likely to see more cases, and with travel, the virus is exportable. ... Therefore, understanding this link is key to limiting the outbreak. There is an urgent need to conduct an in-depth epidemiological study of known cases to get this knowledge."

According to the WHO, hospitals in Saudi Arabia seem to be having a hard time containing the virus. Many hospitals around the world have reportedly been phasing in extra precautions as the virus spreads to countries in the Arabian Peninsula as well as the United Kingdom, Italy, France and others. 

"Symptoms include fever, coughing and shortness of breath." (Via WTVT)

Although the information is preliminary, CDC officials says the patient in Florida is a health care worker they believe treated MERS patients in Saudi Arabia. (Via NBC)

According to the CDC, MERS currently poses a low risk to the general public. However, those who have close contact with an infected person do have a higher risk of contracting the virus. As of now, the CDC does not recommend that anyone change their travel plans.