MIAMI May 15 All of the healthcare workers who
came into contact with a patient in Florida who was suffering
from Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) have tested
negative for the often-deadly virus, state health officials said
The patient, who is hospitalized in Orlando, Florida, is the
second confirmed MERS case in the United States.
The Florida Department of Health said in a statement that
the man is improving but remains hospitalized at the Dr. P.
The patient initially spent 12 hours in the hospital's
emergency department before he was moved to an isolation room,
raising concerns about whether healthcare workers who had
contact with him may have become infected.
MERS causes coughing, fever and sometimes fatal pneumonia,
killing an estimated 30 percent of those who are infected.
It is a virus from the same family as SARS, or Severe Acute
Respiratory Syndrome, which killed around 800 people worldwide
after it first appeared in China in 2002.
Scientists have limited understanding about how the MERS
virus spreads, but healthcare workers have proven particularly
vulnerable because of their close contact with infected
Both U.S. cases involved healthcare workers who had spent
time in hospitals in Saudi Arabia, where MERS infection rates
have surged in recent weeks.
Florida health officials said there is no threat of MERS
infection for people traveling to the Orlando area.
(Reporting by Kevin Gray; Editing by Ken Wills)