Third U.S. MERS case discovered in Illinois, man not ill

By Kyle Johnson,

A third U.S. case of MERS was reported in Illinois on Saturday, but it is said that the man only had the mildest of symptoms.

The third man to be infected with Middle East Respiratory Syndrome actually met with the first person infected, from Indiana, for two business meetings and the only physical contact they shared was a handshake, reports ABC News. The Indiana man was not yet showing symptoms of the virus.

The Illinois man was tested twice by the CDC with the first coming back negative. A second blood sample was taken about 10 days after the first and scientists discovered he had MERS antibodies, suggesting he was actually infected. The Illinois patient was said to have only suffered what he thought were cold or allergy symptoms and never needed medical attention.

ABC News chief health and medical editor Dr. Richard Besser said that MERS can be transferred without symptoms showing wasn't particularly surprising. "With most (if not all) infectious diseases, there is a spectrum of disease following infection ranging from asymptomatic transmission to full-blown disease."

The discovery of a third case in the United States, comes just a few days after a second case was confirmed in the Netherlands. The two people contracted the coronavirus while in Saudi Arabia, which is how all the other cases, besides the latest Illinois case came down with MERS.

Most cases of the virus are centered in the Arabian Peninsula and since 2012 there have been over 570 confirmed cases of MERS. The virus often causes flu-like symptoms, shortness of breath and can even lead to kidney failure and pneumonia.



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