A U.S. citizen previously hospitalized in Indiana with Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, or MERS, has passed the potentially fatal virus to an Illinois man, federal health officials said Saturday.
Health officials originally contacted the Illinois resident earlier this month after learning that he had met with the Indiana patient on two occasions prior to the Indiana man’s hospitalization, according to a release from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
An initial test of the Illinois man on May 5 came back negative for an active MERS-CoV infection, officials said. But further testing revealed that the man had in fact been previously infected with the virus.
The Illinois man did not require medical care, officials said, and is reportedly feeling well. Local health officials are continuing to monitor the man’s health condition, officials said.
The man’s body likely developed antibodies that fought off the MERS virus, health officials said.
“This latest development does not change CDC’s current recommendations to prevent the spread of MERS,” Dr. David Swerdlow, head of the agency’s MERS response team, said in the release. “It’s possible that as the investigation continues others may also test positive for MERS-CoV infection but not get sick.”
State and local health officials will partner with the CDC to continue the investigation into possible cases of the disease.
A second case of MERS in the United States was reported on May 11 in Florida. The virus was first reported in 2012 in Saudi Arabia, and has spread to 572 confirmed cases in 15 countries, health officials said. The potentially fatal disease has claimed 173 lives.