CDC warnings about MERS go up at LAX

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This May 14, 2014 image, provided by Denver International Airport, shows newly-erected signs warning travelers about he danger of the MERS virus, at Denver International Airport. MERS, or Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, is a respiratory illness that begins with flu-like fever and cough but can lead to shortness of breath, pneumonia and death. The airport says the signs were posted Wednesday, May 14, 2014 at all of its screening areas at the direction of the Centers for Disease Control. (AP Photo/Denver International Airport)

This May 14, 2014 image, provided by Denver International Airport, shows newly-erected signs warning travelers about he danger of the MERS virus, at Denver International Airport. MERS, or Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, is a respiratory illness that begins with flu-like fever and cough but can lead to shortness of breath, pneumonia and death. The airport says the signs were posted Wednesday, May 14, 2014 at all of its screening areas at the direction of the Centers for Disease Control. (AP Photo/Denver International Airport)

LOS ANGELES (CNS) – Posters warning travelers of the threat of the deadly MERS infection are going up today at Los Angeles International Airport.

There is no treatment for the respiratory illness, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus, which kills about one in three people who contract it, according to the Centers for Disease Control. The CDC is working on a vaccine.

MERS requires close contact to spread and confirmed cases of the infection have been concentrated in the Arabian Peninsula, but two cases were reported in the United States this month. Both patients were healthcare workers who live in Saudi Arabia and had been traveling to the U.S.

They were hospitalized in Indiana and Florida, where CDC officials are tracking those with whom they had contact.

The first patient has been released from the hospital, according to the Centers for Disease Control. The patient in the second case, confirmed Sunday, reportedly was doing “well” Monday.

The World Health Organization has reported 571 confirmed cases of MERS, including 171 deaths, in 18 countries.

FILE - This undated file electron microscope image made available by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases - Rocky Mountain Laboratories shows novel coronavirus particles, also known as the MERS virus, colorized in yellow. Four more people have died in Saudi Arabia after contracting an often fatal Middle East respiratory virus as the number of new confirmed infections in the kingdom climbs higher, according to health officials. The Saudi health ministry said in a statement posted online late Wednesday, May 8, 2014 that 18 new confirmed cases of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome were reported in the capital Riyadh, the western cities of Jiddah, Mecca and Medina, and in the city of Najran, along the border with Yemen.(AP Photo/NIAID - RML, File)

FILE – This undated file electron microscope image made available by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases – Rocky Mountain Laboratories shows novel coronavirus particles, also known as the MERS virus, colorized in yellow. Four more people have died in Saudi Arabia after contracting an often fatal Middle East respiratory virus as the number of new confirmed infections in the kingdom climbs higher, according to health officials. The Saudi health ministry said in a statement posted online late Wednesday, May 8, 2014 that 18 new confirmed cases of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome were reported in the capital Riyadh, the western cities of Jiddah, Mecca and Medina, and in the city of Najran, along the border with Yemen.(AP Photo/NIAID – RML, File)

MERS first emerged in the Middle East about two years ago, according to the CDC. While cases in the United States have been rare and the World Health Organization said the spread of the disease does not constitute a global health emergency, officials want travelers to the Arabian Peninsula to be aware of MERS symptoms that could be mistaken for the flu.

Symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath. The CDC recommends that travelers to Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, Jordan, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates monitor their health closely for 14 days after travel and immediately call a doctor if they experience such symptoms.

The CDC does not recommend changing travel plans because of the MERS threat. It does offer special precautions to be taken by health-care providers traveling to the Arabian Peninsula for work.

 

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