CDC Confirms Second Case of Deadly MERS Virus In U.S.

A second case of the deadly MERS virus has been confirmed in the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Monday.

The CDC says the disease was found in a patient in Florida who is believed to have contracted it overseas.

MERS-CoV -- which stands for Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus -- was first identified in Saudi Arabia in 2012. Since then at least 480 cases have been confirmed in Saudi Arabia and 139 people there have died. Cases have also been reported in several nearby countries including the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon.

The only cases identified so far in the U.S. or Europe have been in people who had recently traveled to the region.

The first U.S. case was confirmed

May 2 in a patient in Indiana. Officials said he had just arrived in the U.S. a few days earlier from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, where he worked at a hospital. Doctors said

he was recovering

and did not appear to have infected anyone else he'd come in contact with during his travels.

Symptoms of MERS can include fever, breathing problems, pneumonia and kidney failure.

The MERS virus has been found in camels, and the animals appear to have a role in spreading it to humans. This weekend the Saudi government advised people to avoid contact with camels if possible, and to wear protective gloves and face masks and wash their hands if they did encounter the animals.

MERS can spread from person to person, but officials believe it that normally happens only in cases of close contact, such as between patients and health care workers. Not all of those exposed to the virus develop the illness.


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