First MERS Case Reported in Florida

By on 8:09 AM

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has announced that the second U.S. imported case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) is in Orlando, Fla.

It was confirmed on May 11. The patient is a healthcare worker who resides and works in Saudi Arabia. The patient flew from Saudi Arabia to the United States by way of London, England; Boston; Atlanta; and Orlando.

This case is unlinked to the first imported case of MERS reported May 2 in Indiana.

MERS is viral respiratory illness first reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012. It is caused by a coronavirus called MERS-CoV. Most people who have been confirmed to have MERS-CoV infection developed severe acute respiratory illness with symptoms that included fever, cough and shortness of breath. So far, there have been more than 535 confirmed cases of MERS in 14 countries. Most of these people developed severe acute respiratory illness, with fever, cough and shortness of breath. Of these cases, 145 people have died.

CDC said the risk to the U.S. general public from MERS is very low. While experts are unsure how the virus is spread, CDC advises Americans to help protect themselves by washing hands often, avoiding close contact with people who are sick, avoiding touching their eyes, nose and/or mouth with unwashed hands and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces.

Phenelle Segal, RN, CIC, FAPIC

Phenelle Segal, RN, CIC, FAPIC, is the founder and president of Infection Control Consulting Services LLC (ICCS). Phenelle has more than 30 years' experience providing customized comprehensive infection control and prevention services to healthcare facilities nationwide. Her services focus on assisting hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, dental office and oral surgery practices, doctor's offices, nursing homes and other organizations with implementing and maintaining an infection control program that: complies with The Joint Commission, AAAHC, Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) and other regulatory agencies; respond to situations of noncompliance; and improve the processes for reducing risk.