An Illinois man picked up the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) after spending time with the first American sufferer of the disease.
The first American diagnosed with MERS is an Indiana man who fell ill after a visit to Saudi Arabia. However, before doctors realized he had MERS he met with the Illinois man two times, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Doctors confirmed that the first man had MERS May 2. He has since been released from the hospital.
First reported in 2012, MERS is a viral respiratory disease that may have originated from camels. There are at least 538 confirmed cases of MERS worldwide, including 145 deaths.
Test results produced late Friday showed that the second man also was infected, according to the CDC. The man has not recently traveled outside the United States.
However, the man did not become sick, never needed or sought medical attention, and, as of Saturday, was feeling well. According to the CDC, he “got the virus from the Indiana patient and the person’s body developed antibodies to fight the virus.”
David Swerdlow, a doctor with the CDC, said an investigation may turn up other people who were infected with the MERS virus but did not become sick. The discovery of the Illinois man’s infection does not change officials’ view that risk to the public from MERS is low.
The second case of MERS in the U.S. was confirmed May 11. In that case, a health care worker from Saudi Arabia arrived in Florida and became ill.
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