Deadly Virus: Tourists brings first case to Orlando, Florida

In the Gulf region and Middle East this virus has been spreading and killed 30% of those infected.

Deadly Virus: Tourists brings first case to Orlando, Florida

In the Gulf region and Middle East this virus has been spreading and killed 30% of those infected. The first person, a tourist from Saudi Arabia in Orlando Florida, was infected with the MERS virus is stable and in “great spirits,” health officials at Dr. P. Phillips Medical Center said today.

At a press conference this morning, health officials stressed they are ready and able to handle any more cases that come up.

Officials also said the risk of contracting MERS is “negligible” for tourists coming to Central Florida. Health-care workers are most likely to contract MERS.

The 44-year-old man, who was visiting from Saudi Arabia, is the second U.S. patient with the potentially deadly respiratory virus. MERS — or Middle East Respiratory Syndrome — has infected more than 500 people worldwide and killed 114.

The patient, who works in a Saudi Arabia hospital, arrived in Orlando on May 1. He went to ORMC on May 5 with a friend who had a medical issue not related to MERS. The patient then sought treatment for fever, muscle aches and diarrhea at the Dr. P Phillips ER on May 8. A trio of laboratory tests confirmed MERS.

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Fifteen hospital workers at Dr. P. Phillips and five at ORMC had contact with the patient. Two workers from Dr. Phillips have developed symptoms; one has been admitted to the hospital and the other is awaiting test results. The rest have been asked to stay home for 14 days and monitor their symptoms.

The tourist family members have also been asked to stay home and monitor any symptoms.

With a fatality rate of nearly 30 percent and no vaccine or antiviral treatment, health officials are taking the infection seriously. However, experts say contracting the virus only comes after close contact with an infected person. The virus is spread by touching, coughing or contaminated fluids.

Symptoms of the virus include congestion, cough, fever over 100.4 degrees, shortness of breath, pneumonia, body aches and diarrhea.

Doctors today said MERS is not spread as easily as the flu.

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