WASHINGTON, May 13 (Xinhua) -- Two workers at a Florida hospital who came into contact with a second U.S. imported case of the deadly Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) virus have fallen ill and one of them has been hospitalized, a spokesman for the hospital told Xinhua Tuesday.
"Yes, two of the 20 team members at our hospital who were exposed to the confirmed MERS patient have begun to show symptoms. They are NOT confirmed MERS cases," Geo Morales, a spokesman for Dr. P. Phillips Hospital in Orlando said in an email.
Morales said one of the two has been admitted to the hospital while the other was treated and discharged and is following precautions at home.
"Test results for the presence of MERS should come back for all 20 team members within the next two days," the spokesman added.
U.S. health officials said Monday that a 44-year-old male healthcare worker who was visiting from Saudi Arabia has tested positive for the MERS virus.
The Saudi Arabian patient, the second person in the U.S. confirmed to be infected with the virus, "is in good condition and is continuing to improve," the hospital said.
The first U.S. case of MERS, confirmed in an American healthcare worker who came home from Saudi Arabia last month, has been released from the hospital.
So far, there have been more than 500 confirmed cases of MERS infection in 14 countries with at least 145 deaths, and all reported cases have been linked to countries in the Arabian Peninsula
Most of these people developed severe acute respiratory illness, with fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Doctors do not know where the virus came from or exactly how it spreads. There is no available vaccine or specific treatment recommended for the virus.