Second U.S. case of deadly MERS virus found in Florida

The second imported case of the deadly MERS respiratory virus in the United States has been confirmed in Florida, the Centers for Disease Control announced Monday.

The CDC and the Florida department of Health are investigating the latest case of the virus, known as the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome. The CDC did not elaborate on the specific location or background of the latest incident, which first broke on Twitter.

Officials from the CDC and the Florida Department of Health scheduled a 2 p.m. ET news conference to discuss the latest case.

RELATED: Deadly MERS virus turns up in U.S. for first time

By designating the latest case as "imported," the CDC indicated that it was brought in from outside the United States.

The first case, discovered in Indiana on May 2, involved a male health care worker who was living and working in Saudi Arabia, which has recorded most of the case of MERS.

The unidentified Indiana patient was quickly quarantined. He was released from the hospital last week after no longer showing signs of the virus, according to Dr. Alan Kumar, chief medical information officer, Community Hospital in Munster, Ind.

MERS belongs to the coronavirus family that includes the common cold and SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome, which caused more than 800 deaths globally in 2003.

Overall the CDC says about 400 people have been identified as coming down with the MERS virus, though there are differing reports about whether all those cases have been confirmed as MERS. More than 100 have died.

No vaccine exists for the disease. Treatment consists of standard supportive care for a respiratory illness. Officials said people worried about MERS should wash their hands regularly, wipe down potentially infected surfaces with anti-bacterial agents and avoid others who are sick.

Since April 2012, countries with MERS-confirmed cases include France, Italy, Jordan, Kuwait, Malaysia, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, the United Kingdom and United Arab Emirates.

The CDC says the virus likely came from an animal source. In addition to humans, MERS-CoV has been found in camels in Qatar and a bat in Saudi Arabia.


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