Healthcare Business News

Fla. MERS patient out of hospital; first U.S. transmission reported

By Rachel Landen
Posted: May 19, 2014 - 1:00 pm ET

The Orlando, Fla., patient diagnosed 10 days ago with the illness known as MERS, the second confirmed case in the U.S., has been discharged from the Orange County hospital where he had been in isolation since May 9.

Meanwhile, the first case of Middle East respiratory syndrome being transmitted from person to person in the U.S. was reported Saturday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That person was reported to have had contact with U.S. MERS patient No. 1, who had been treated at an Indiana hospital.

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In Florida, patient No. 2, a 44-year-old male healthcare worker from Saudi Arabia, has since been cleared of the virus after testing positive for it more than a week ago at Dr. P. Phillips Hospital, a campus of Orlando Health. All healthcare workers and household contacts exposed to the patient also have tested negative for MERS.

However, despite reporting that there is no broad risk of MERS infection for the general public, the Florida Department of Health, Dr. P. Phillips Hospital and the CDC are still working together to ensure appropriate follow-up. “Surveillance, contact investigation and testing continue, following standard public health protocols,” according to a release from Orlando Health and the Florida Department of Health in Orange County.

The Florida patient, who arrived in Orlando on May 1 after traveling from Jeddah in western Saudi Arabia, was the second confirmed case of MERS in the U.S.

The first was another imported, unrelated case, in Indiana in early May. That patient was released from Community Hospital in Munster, Ind., on May 9 after spending nearly two weeks in isolation.

Follow Rachel Landen on Twitter: @MHrlanden

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