CDC (Center for Disease Control) warns air travelers from the Middle East and U.S. hospital workers as new cases of deadly MERS virus are confirmed

MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) was first identified from an outbreak in Saudi Arabia and said to be transmitted by camels. There is no known cure.

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Globe and Mail  Two health workers at a Florida hospital exposed to a patient with Middle East respiratory syndrome have begun showing flu-like symptoms, raising concerns about the ability of global health authorities to contain the mysterious and deadly virus. The World Health Organization convened an emergency meeting in Geneva on Tuesday to decide whether the rising rate of confirmed cases, most of them in Saudi Arabia, constitutes a “public health emergency of international concern.”

Florida officials said they were monitoring the health of 20 health-care workers who had been in contact with the patient, including a doctor who had already left for Canada. They also were trying to track down nearly 100 people who may have overlapped with the patient at two Orlando medical facilities he visited. Both confirmed cases involved health-care workers who spent time in Saudi Arabia before “importing” the infection to the United States.

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After working in a hospital in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, which has been treating MERS patients, the health-care worker flew to London and reached the United States on May 1. The virus, which causes coughing, fever and sometimes fatal pneumonia, has been reported in more than 500 patients in Saudi Arabia alone and has spread to neighboring countries and, Europe and Asia. It kills about 30 per cent of those who are infected.

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