Third Case of MERS Confirmed in the U.S.

In this photo taken Tuesday, May 13, 2014, Muslim pilgrims wear surgical masks to prevent infection from respiratory virus known as the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) in the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed on Saturday that a third case of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) virus was found in the United States.
An Illinois man who had close contact with the first confirmed case of MERS in the U.S., an Indiana MERS patient, now tests positive for the virus, according a CDC release. The third case comes just one week after a second case was confirmed in Florida. The first case was confirmed two weeks ago.

The Illinois man's illness is the first case of MERS being transmitted from person to person in the U.S., according to NBC News.
MERS was first reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012. Since then, the virus has infected 572 people in 15 countries, according to the CDC. Of those, 173 people have died. Its symptoms are flu-like, with fever, cough and shortness of breath being the biggest indicators of the disease.
Despite this new development, the CDC says people should not halt plans to travel to countries with higher rates of the virus, such as Saudi Arabia. They add that MERS "represents a very low risk" to the general U.S. public, and advise those who are traveling to countries in the Arabian Peninsula or neighboring countries to wash their hands and avoid contact with people who are sick.

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