Biological Hazard in USA on Sunday, 18 May, 2014 at 04:55 (04:55 AM) UTC.
|A business associate of the man who brought the first case of a
mysterious Middle East virus to the U.S. has also tested positive for
the disease, though he showed no signs of illness, federal health
officials said Saturday. The new infection - the third reported in the
U.S. and the first transmitted on American soil - is in an Illinois man
who met and shook hands with a health care worker who was hospitalized
in Indiana after traveling from Saudi Arabia and was diagnosed May 2
with MERS, or Middle East respiratory syndrome.
The Illinois man had not
traveled outside of the U.S. recently and he did not seek or require
medical care, officials with the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention said in announcing the new infection Saturday. Instead,
laboratory tests showed that the man had evidence of an apparent past
infection in his blood. He continues to feel well, CDC officials said.
"This latest development does not change CDC's current recommendations
to prevent the spread of MERS," said Dr. David Swerdlow, who is leading
the agency's response to the infection that has sickened more than 570
people and killed 172, mostly in Saudi Arabia. It is formally known as
the MERS coronavirus, or MERS-CoV. "It's possible that as the
investigation continues others may also test positive for the MERS-CoV
infection but not get sick," Swerdlow added in a statement.
Although he has evidence of past infection, the Illinois man is not
considered an official MERS case under World Health Organization and CDC
defintions, Swerdlow said. The new infection was detected as part of
efforts by CDC and state health departments to contact everyone
connected with the Indiana man and a Florida man who was the second in
the U.S. diagnosed with MERS May 11. In both cases, the men were health
care workers who came from Saudi Arabia and traveled on planes and other
forms of public transportation to get home. The Indiana case is a
health care worker in his 60s who was hospitalized April 28 and then
diagnosed with MERS. In the Florida case, the 44-year-old man went to an
Orlando emergency room, where he may have exposed others to the virus.
The U.S. men with MERS infections have not been identified. MERS is
spread through close contact, health officials say, and there's no
evidence of sustained transmission in public settings. But in the case
of the most recent patient, who lives in Cook County, Illinois,
according to the CDC, a "close contact" included a 30- to 40-minute,
face-to-face business meeting, Swerdlow told reporters Saturday. The two
also held another, briefer meeting in the days before the Indiana man
That doesn't change how CDC views the possibility of the spread of the
disease, Swerdlow said. "It's not sustained transmission and it's not
easy transmission," he said. Local health officials reached out to the
Illinois man and tested him for active infection on May 5, with negative
results. But blood samples in a test returned Friday, May 16, showed
evidence of MERS antibodies, indicating recent infection. CDC officials
are continuing to reach out to, test and monitor people who have come
into contact with the three U.S. residents with evidence of infection,
Swerdlow said. Health workers will now reach out to the circle of
contacts of the Illinois man to look for signs of sickness or evidence
of infection. Meanwhile, he has been asked to isolate himself from
contact, either by staying home or wearing a mask when he goes out,
Swerdlow said. Officials say they have not changed their travel
guidelines for U.S. residents heading to the Middle East and urge people
to take sensible infection control precautions. The agency recommends
that travelers closely monitor their health during and after the trip
and report any signs of illness. Health officials have been evaluating
travelers from the Middle East for months and should continue to do so,
with extra vigilance about any signs of respiratory illness.
MERS-COv (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS))
Viruses and bacteria that cause severe to fatal disease in humans,
and for which vaccines or other treatments are not available, such as
Bolivian and Argentine hemorrhagic fevers, H5N1(bird flu), Dengue
hemorrhagic fever, Marburg virus, Ebola virus, hantaviruses, Lassa
fever, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, and other hemorrhagic or
unidentified diseases. When dealing with biological hazards at this
level the use of a Hazmat suit and a self-contained oxygen supply is
mandatory. The entrance and exit of a Level Four biolab will contain
multiple showers, a vacuum room, an ultraviolet light room, autonomous
detection system, and other safety precautions designed to destroy all
traces of the biohazard. Multiple airlocks are employed and are
electronically secured to prevent both doors opening at the same time.
All air and water service going to and coming from a Biosafety Level 4
(P4) lab will undergo similar decontamination procedures to eliminate
the possibility of an accidental release.
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Biological Hazard in Saudi Arabia on Friday, 14 March, 2014 at 13:26 (01:26 PM) UTC.
Biological Hazard in Iran on Tuesday, 27 May, 2014 at 12:39 (12:39 PM) UTC.
CDC says man who met with U.S. MERS patient was not infected after all