US reports third case of potential Mers virus

An Indian worker wears a mouth and nose mask as he works near camels at his farm outside Riyadh on May 12, 2014. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP
An Indian worker wears a mouth and nose mask as he works near camels at his farm outside Riyadh on May 12, 2014. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (AFP) - A third potential case of the dangerous Middle East Respiratory Virus (Mers), has been found in the United States, health authorities said on Tuesday, May 13, 2014.

"Two of the 20 team members exposed to the confirmed Mers patient are showing symptoms," said Mr Geo Morales, spokesman for the Orlando hospital where one infected patient was treated.

"One of the two has been admitted to the hospital but is in stable condition. The other was treated and discharged and is following precautions at home. All 20 team members have been tested and we are expecting those results within the next day or two," the spokesman added.

The second infected US patient was confirmed as such on May 10. The man, 44, is a health-care worker who resides and works in Saudi Arabia, who travelled by plane on May 1 from Jeddah to London, England, then to Boston, Atlanta, and Orlando, officials from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention told reporters.

The United States announced its first case earlier this month, a health-care worker who had travelled to Riyadh at the end of April.

MERS causes fever, cough and shortness of breath, and can be lethal particularly among older people and those with pre-existing health problems.

Some 30 per cent of the several hundred people infected with it have died, according to the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.

The virus first emerged in Saudi Arabia in 2012 and recent research has suggested it may originate in camels.

The vast majority of cases have been in Saudi Arabia, but Mers has also been found in 16 other countries. Most cases involved people who had recently travelled to Saudi Arabia.