US MERS patient still has fever

May 13, 2014

Employees at two Florida hospitals who came into contact with a Saudi resident infected by a mysterious virus are being monitored for symptoms and have been told to stay home for two weeks, health officials said Tuesday.

Fifteen workers at Dr. Phillip Hospital in Orlando, and another five employees at Orlando Regional Medical Center were being monitored at home for fever, chills and muscle aches, said Dr. Antonio Crespo, an official with the hospital system.

So far, none of them have tested positive for MERS, or Middle East Respiratory Syndrome.

The Saudi resident was being treated at Dr. Phillips Hospital, where he showed up at the emergency room on May 8. Three days earlier, he had visited Orlando Regional Medical Center with a friend who went to the hospital for a test.

Two workers at Dr. Phillips Hospital have shown flu-like symptoms recent days. One of them was sent home, and the other has been hospitalized in isolation. Both are awaiting test results that could come later this week.

"We are prepared for situations like this. This is what we do every day," Crespo said.

Crespo said the Saudi resident spent most of his time in Orlando at the home he was staying at, and he didn't visit any of the area's tourist attractions.

The 44-year-old patient still has a low-grade fever and is being treated in isolation at Dr. Phillips Hospital.

The White House said Tuesday that President Barack Obama had been briefed on the MERS cases in the U.S.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said Obama's team is watching the situation very closely and that the Centers for Disease Control is coordinating responses along with Florida officials.

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