TIME Infectious Disease

Deadly Middle East Virus Hits 3rd U.S. Patient

An Illinois business associate of the first laboratory-confirmed MERS patient in the United States has tested positive for the virus

An Illinois man has become the third person in the United States to test positive for the deadly Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, but he hasn’t showed signs of illness, federal health officials said Saturday.

The man met with the health care worker who was hospitalized in Indiana after traveling from Saudi Arabia and was diagnosed May 2 with the MERS virus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. The Illinois man had not traveled outside of the U.S. and had met twice with the health care worker who brought the first case stateside, before that case was diagnosed.

He continues to feel healthy despite testing positive for the disease on Friday. He’s the first person to contract the infection in the U.S., as opposed to getting it overseas and bringing it back, NPR reports.

“This latest development does not change CDC’s current recommendations to prevent the spread of MERS,” said Dr. David Swerdlow, who is leading the CDC’s response to MERS. “It’s possible that as the investigation continues others may also test positive for MERS-CoV infection but not get sick. Along with state and local health experts, CDC will investigate those initial cases and if new information is learned that requires us to change our prevention recommendations, we can do so.”

There have been 572 laboratory-confirmed cases of MERS in 15 countries, according to the CDC, and 173 people have died.

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