CDC warnings about MERS go up at LAX
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.
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.