Illinois resident tests positive for MERS after contact with Indiana patient

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The Centers for Disease Control announced Saturday afternoon that an Illinois resident has tested positive for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus following contact with an Indiana MERS patient.

As part of an ongoing investigation, the CDC has identified evidence of apparent past MERS-CoV infection in an Illinois man.  The Illinois man did not seek or require medical care, but local health officials have monitored his health daily as part of their investigation.  At this point, the man is reported to be feeling well.

The Indiana MERS patient is a U.S. resident who had traveled to Saudi Arabia.  He was admitted to Community Hospital in Munster on April 28th.  His MERS diagnosis was confirmed on May 2nd, and he has since been released from the hospital.

Tests indicating past MERS infection in the Illinois resident were reported late on May 16th.  The CDC says he met with the Indiana patient on two occasions shortly before the Indiana man was identified as having the MERS infection.

“This latest development does not change CDC’s current recommendations to prevent the spread of MERS,” said David Swerdlow, M.D. “It’s possible that as the investigation continues others may also test positive for MERS-CoV infection but not get sick.  Along with state and local health experts, CDC will investigate those initial cases and if new information is learned that requires us to change our prevention recommendations, we can do so.”

The CDC recommends people help protect themselves from respiratory illnesses by taking preventative actions like washing their hands often, avoiding touching their face with unwashed hands, avoiding contact with people who appear sick, and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces.  For anyone traveling in or near the Arabian Peninsula, they recommend that they pay attention to their health during and after their trip.