Second case of MERS hits the U.S.

By Stefanie Bryant |

Published 05/13 2014 12:05PM

Updated 05/13 2014 12:23PM

A second case of the mysterious new virus known as "MERS" or Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, has been found in Florida.

Dr. Tom frieden, Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says, "It's not unexpected and we're handling it effectively so we make sure we're doing everything possible to prevent it from spreading any further within the U.S."

The patient began feeling sick during a flight from Saudi Arabia on May 1st. But, didn't seek medical attention until a week later when he was visiting the Orlando area.

He was admitted to the hospital and is said to be isolated and doing well.

This case comes just two weeks after a man was hospitalized in Indiana with the virus. He has since fully recovered.

In both cases, the patients are health care workers from Saudi Arabia visiting the U.S.  Though the cases are not believed to be connected.

Officials from the CDC say there's no reason to panic; "We are contacting more than 500 people who were on the same flight as this individual, however, we think the risk is extremely low."

There have been 538 confirmed cases worldwide with 145 deaths from the virus; mostly in Saudi Arabia.

Officials say the virus is more fatal than the flu but not as contagious.

"The second confirmed case of MERS virus in the U.S. Reminds us that we're all connected and it's really important that not only do we do a good job here, but we work with other countries to help them find new infections faster, stop them promptly and prevent them wherever possible."

So far, health officials say there's been no documented spread of the disease from airplane exposure.

There is no specific treatment or vaccination for this emerging illness.
While experts do not yet know how this virus is spread, the CDC advises Americans to protect themselves from respiratory illnesses.
The CDC recommends frequent hand washing, avoiding close contact with people who are sick, avoid touching your face with unwashed hands and disinfect frequently touched surfaces.

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