New Concerns About MERS

By: KKTV
By: KKTV

There are new concerns that a deadly virus could spread in the U.S.

As of Wednesday, 571 cases of MERS, or Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, have been confirmed worldwide. Almost a third of those cases have been fatal, which the U.S. Public Health Service says is a typical mortality rate for the virus.

Two cases have been detected in the United States.

While there aren't any signs up at the airport in Colorado Springs warning about MERS, the signs are up at DIA. But travelers say they aren't too worried.

"I mean, that sign says going to the Arabian Peninsula...I'm going to Las Vegas," one traveler said.

All MERS cases have be linked to six countries on the Arabian Peninsula at this time.

The World Health Organization says the spread of the virus has become more serious and urgent, but does not yet constitute a global health emergency. Health workers are still trying to figure out exactly how it spreads. As of right now, it does not appear to spread easily between people.

"We don't have evidence right now that it is airborne," CDC National Center for Immunization head Anne Schuchat told CNN.

The CDC website says those at risk of contracting the virus are people who have been in very close contact with someone who has MERS, primarily those caring for patients or living with them.

The virus acts like a cold at first, but can lead to pneumonia, gastrointestinal problems and kidney failure.

Both U.S. patients are doing well; the first person with a reported case has fully recovered, according to the CDC, while the second individual is still in the hospital but "doing well."

Eighteen hospital workers in Orlando, where the second case was reported, are waiting on test results now. Two health care workers at the hospital have already tested negative for MERS.

11 News has checked with Fort Carson because of how many soldiers are returning from the Middle East. They say there have been no reports of any possible illnesses, but they are making sure all of their medical personnel know what to look for.

For more information on MERS from the CDC, follow the link on the side of the page.


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