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Two ill Orlando Health staffers test negative after exposure to MERS patient


By John N. Frank
Posted: May 14, 2014 - 12:30 pm ET
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Two Orlando Health staffers who were exposed to the second U.S. MERS patient and came down with flu-like symptoms have tested negative for the virus that causes the illness, the Florida health system said Wednesday morning.

Orlando Health reported Monday that its Dr. P. Phillips Hospital admitted a patient May 9 who tested positive for the coronavirus that causes Middle East respiratory syndrome.

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“We are still awaiting test results on the other 18 healthcare workers from Dr. P. Phillips Hospital and Orlando Regional Medical Center,” Orlando Health, which operates both facilities, said in a news release.

“The patient who tested positive for MERS Co-V remains in isolation at Dr. P. Phillips Hospital. He has been fever free for 24 hours and clinically is doing well.”

One exposed hospital team member was hospitalized May 12 while the other had been discharged and sent home the same day.

CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden said in a news briefing that the Florida case involved a healthcare provider who lives and works in Saudi Arabia and traveled from that country to Florida on May 1.

More details of the patient's travels from Saudi Arabia to London to Boston, Atlanta and then Orlando became public Tuesday, when health officials revealed that the patient had visited a second hospital, the Orlando Regional Medical Center, with a family member May 5, exposing five team members there. Fifteen team members at Dr. P. Phillips were exposed.

Health officials are making efforts to track down anyone who was exposed to the patient, although they emphasized there is little risk of the contracting the virus without close contact with someone who is infected.

The first known case of MERS in the U.S. was seen this month in Munster, Ind. The patient in that case was likewise a healthcare worker from Saudi Arabia who was visiting his family. He was discharged from Community Hospital in Munster on May 9.

Follow John N. Frank on Twitter: @MHJFrank


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