Florida MERS Patient Still Has Fever: Health Officials

The patient in the first MERS case confirmed in Florida still has a fever but is in good spirits, Orlando Health officials said Tuesday

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    NEWSLETTERS

    NBC News has the details about the MERS virus and how it's impacting hospital workers in Orlando. (Published Tuesday, May 13, 2014)

    The patient in the first MERS case confirmed in Florida still has a fever but is in good spirits, Orlando Health officials said Tuesday.

    But, around 20 health workers have been told to stay home to avoid coming in contact wiht more people. Also, two Orlando healthcare workers began showing symptoms of the disease, according to Reuters.

    Test results are still pending on the two healthcare workers who were exposed to the disease.

    The new case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus was confirmed by officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Florida Department of Health Monday.

    Officials at Dr. Phillips Hospital said Tuesday that the patient still has a low-grade fever and is being treated in isolation for MERS.

     
    The Florida patient is a healthcare provider who lives and works in Saudi Arabia and began feeling sick on a flight to London. The patient then traveled on to Boston and Atlanta before arriving in Orlando on May 1, the CDC said.

    The patient, who was visiting family in Orlando, was hospitalized last week and remains isolated in the hospital and is doing well, officials said.

    MERS belongs to the coronavirus family that includes the common cold and a syndrome known as SARS, which caused some 800 deaths globally in 2003. Saudi Arabia has been at the center of a Middle East outbreak of MERS that began two years ago. The virus has spread among health care workers, most notably at four facilities in that country last spring.

    Overall, at least 400 people have had the respiratory illness, and more than 100 people have died. All had ties to the Middle East region or to people who traveled there.

    Officials said the risk is relatively low for the Florida case but they are doing everything possible to find people who may have had contact with the patient. They are tracking down the 500 or so passengers who may have been on the three flights in the U.S. out of an abundance of caution.