An Illinois resident tested positive for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome after having contact with a patient in Indiana who carried the first confirmed case of the virus from Saudi Arabia to the U.S.
The unnamed man reports good health after having close contact with the first patient on two occasions in Indiana, but did not seek medical attention following the discovery.
The first case of the virus, known as MERS-CoV, was confirmed on May 2 in a health care worker who flew from Saudi Arabia to Indiana through Chicago, according to a statement released by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
The patient was hospitalized on April 28, but has since been released.
The CDC has not found evidence of other people who had contact with the patient to show evidence of infection.
The man in Illinois tested negative on an initial test May 5, but a second test result was positive on May 16. While the man did not develop symptoms, he may have developed antibodies to the virus.
It’s possible for a patient to test positive for the virus, but not get sick, said Dr. David Swerdlow, of the CDC, in a statement Saturday.
The virus causes a severe acute respiratory illness with symptoms of fever, cough and shortness of breath.
The virus has killed 30 percent of those infected since it was discovered in 2012. The death toll stands at 145.
MERS has been linked to countries in the Arabian Peninsula such as Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Jordan.
An earlier second case of the virus was confirmed on May 11 in another health care worker in Florida who traveled to the U.S. from Saudi Arabia as well, but CDC officials say it is not linked to the first Indiana case.
The patient in Florida felt unwell during a flight from Jeddah to London on May 1 and reported symptoms of fever, chills and a slight cough. The patient was eventually hospitalized on May 9.
That patient is reportedly still in the hospital, but doing well.
The CDC is collecting blood samples from other people reported to have had close contact with the Indiana patient.
So far, there have been no reports of additional infections.
FAQ: The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has a FAQ guide for MERS-CoV.
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