Tests show no person-to-person MERS transmission in US

MERS-CoV particles as seen by negative stain electron microscopy. Virions contain characteristic club-like projections emanating from the viral membrane. Credit: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Tests have shown that a US man suffering from the Middle East Respiratory virus, MERS, did not spread it to another person as first reported, health authorities said Wednesday.

That means only two US cases of MERS have been documented so far, not three. Both patients were healthcare workers who became ill while working in Saudi Arabia, and both have recovered.

Further lab tests showed that the Illinois man who was reported to have caught MERS after meeting in May with an Indiana man who had recently traveled to Saudi Arabia actually did not have the virus, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

"After completing additional and more definitive laboratory tests, CDC officials have concluded that an Indiana MERS patient did not spread the virus to an Illinois associate during a business meeting they had before the patient became ill and was hospitalized," said a CDC statement.

Initial tests had appeared to show the presence of antibodies that would suggest the Illinois man had a previous MERS infection, the CDC said on May 17.

"CDC scientists have since tested additional blood samples and completed the slower, definitive serology test, the neutralizing antibody , which requires at least five days before a result is available," the agency said on Wednesday.

"Based on the result of all of these tests, which require careful interpretation, CDC has concluded that the Illinois resident was not previously infected with MERS-CoV."

That would have been the first person-to-person MERS transmission within the United States.

The contagious respiratory illness can cause fever, chills, and sometimes death among people who are older or are already ill.

Of 536 cases reported since April 2012, 145 have been fatal, according to the World Health Organization's latest tally as of May 9.

Most cases have been in Saudi Arabia, but the virus has been imported to more than a dozen other countries. All of those cases have involved people who became ill while in the Middle East.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Two US hospital workers test negative for MERS

May 14, 2014

Two healthcare workers at a Florida hospital that is caring for a Saudi patient with the dangerous MERS virus have tested negative for the illness, the hospital said Wednesday.

Netherlands reports first case of MERS virus

May 14, 2014

A first case of the dangerous Middle East Respiratory Virus (MERS) has been detected in the Netherlands, in a man who had travelled to Saudi Arabia, authorities said Wednesday.

Florida MERS patient released from hospital

May 19, 2014

A man from Saudi Arabia who is one of three patients diagnosed with an infection from a Middle East respiratory virus in the United States has been released from a hospital.

Recommended for you

UN says Syria vaccine deaths was an NGO 'mistake'

53 minutes ago

The recent deaths of Syrian children after receiving measles vaccinations was the result of a "mistake" by a non-governmental partner who mixed in a muscle relaxant meant for anesthesia, a spokesman for the U.N. secretary-general ...

First US child dies from enterovirus D68

1 hour ago

A child in the northeastern US state of Rhode Island has become the first to die from an ongoing outbreak of a respiratory virus, enterovirus D68, health officials said Wednesday.

US Ebola patient had contact with kids: governor

1 hour ago

A man who was diagnosed with Ebola in virus in Texas came in contact with young children, and experts are monitoring them for any signs of disease, governor Rick Perry said Wednesday.

UN worker dies of suspected Ebola in Liberia

1 hour ago

The United Nations mission in Liberia announced on Wednesday the first suspected victim among its employees of the deadly Ebola epidemic ravaging the impoverished west African nation.

AAO-HNSF clinical practice guideline: Tinnitus

2 hours ago

The American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery Foundation has released the first ever mutli-disciplinary, evidence-based clinical practice guideline to improve the diagnosis and management of tinnitus, the ...

User comments