The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced last week that the first reported transmission of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in the US occurred between an Illinois resident who contracted the virus from the man who had the first reported case in the US.
Because physical therapists (PTs) and physical therapist assistants (PTAs) are often in close contact with patients and clients in settings where infectious disease can be present, APTA has posted information on the MERS virus and transmission as part of its infectious disease control resources.
According to a press release from CDC, the Illinois man came in close contact with the individual from Indiana before the infected individual had been diagnosed with the virus. A subsequent health department investigation revealed that the Illinois man tested positive for MERS antibodies, although he has not developed symptoms and is reported to be "feeling well."
The MERS virus is believed to have originated in the Arabian Peninsula and, until this week, reported cases in the US were in individuals who had recently returned from that region. The infection has a 30% mortality rate, and there is no vaccine or specific treatment for the virus.
The CDC announced that the news of the transmission inside the US has not changed the agency's recommendations for the general public, travelers, and health care professionals.
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