CDC announces false alarm on MERS transmission

Patient Safety Monitor Insider

June 4, 2014

A week after confirming a third U.S. case of the mysterious Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome, government officials are now downplaying that case, saying the patient never had the illness.
According to CNN, the CDC reported that the man was tested extensively after having a two-hour business meeting in Indiana with a Middle Eastern healthcare worker who later fell ill and became the first U.S. confirmed on May 2.
 
The business meeting reportedly involved a handshake, and health officials wanted to take extra precautions as it is suspected that MERS can be transmitted through sustained close personal contact. The third man reportedly never showed any symptoms of the illness, leading to the downgrade of status.
 
So far, there are two confirmed cases in the United States, including a second case that was confirmed in Florida two weeks ago. That man had flown from Saudi Arabia to London and then on to Boston, Atlanta and finally Orlando.
 
Reports have pinpointed Saudi Arabia has been the center of an outbreak of MERS that began about two years ago. At least 636 people worldwide have had the respiratory illness, which is part of the coronavirus family that includes the common cold and SARS. More than 100 people have died, and all have had ties to the Middle East or to people who traveled there. The illness has been linked to camels, and officials don’t yet know how it is spreading to humans.