More Cases of MERS Concern US Officials
And then there were three. Numerous news reports have cited the latest case of Middle East Respiratory Virus, or MERS, to appear in the United States. NBC News has reported that a man in Illinois contracted MERS simply from meeting the second case to appear in the US, and shaking his hand.
This is concerning because it represents the first known case of MERS to be transmitted completely stateside, leading some people to wonder who else has been caught up in the vector of this disease before it was detected. The CDC is still recommending caution, not panic:
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 tested positive.
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.
It is clear by now that MERS is an infectious disease which can jump from person to person through sustained contact, but that doesn’t mean that the American Midwest should necessarily jump to quarantine protocols.
For now, the disease seems relatively well contained, with no U.S. casualties on the ledger. That’s good news for everyone.