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CDC: Illinois man is third U.S. MERS infection

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On Saturday the CDC announced a third case of MERS in the U.S. A business associate of the man who brought the first case of the Middle East virus into the U.S. has also tested positive for the disease, However, he showed no signs of illness.

This new infection is the third case reported in the U.S. and the first transmitted on U.S. soil. The patient is in an Illinois man who shook hands with a health care worker who was hospitalized in Indiana after traveling from Saudi Arabia and was diagnosed May 2 with MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome).

The Illinois man hadn't traveled outside the U.S. and he didn't seek or need medical treatment. Instead, blood tests revealed he had a past infection. The Illinois man is not considered an official MERS case under World Health Organization and CDC defintions.

“This latest development does not change CDC’s current recommendations to prevent the spread of MERS,” said Dr. David Swerdlow. “It’s possible that as the investigation continues others may also test positive for the MERS-CoV infection but not get sick.”

MERS has sickened more than 570 people and killed 172, mostly in Saudi Arabia. It is formally known as the MERS coronavirus, or MERS-CoV.

The new infection was detected as part of efforts by CDC and state health departments to contact everyone connected with the Indiana man and a Florida man who was the second in the U.S. diagnosed with MERS May 11.

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