16 LA County Residents Show No Signs of MERS After Exposure: Officials

The group shared an airplane with a Florida man who was the second confirmed case in the US to have contracted the mysterious virus

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    AP
    This microscope image shows novel coronavirus particles, also known as the MERS virus, colorized in yellow. The mysterious new respiratory virus that originated in the Middle East spreads easily between people.

    Note: The CDC said on May 28 it was incorrect in reporting that an Illinois man caught MERS from another person. See the updated story here.

    At least 16 people in Los Angeles County exposed to MERS on a flight from Florida showed no signs of having contracted the virus, health officials said Thursday.

    The group shared an airplane with a Florida man who worked in Saudi Arabia and was the second confirmed case in the US to have contracted the mysterious virus, according to the LA County Department of Public Health.

    Health officials interviewed and tested all 16 people and said no one in the group showed any signs of having MERS, or Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus, officials said.

    "This information should alleviate any fears," a health department spokesperson said.

    MERS has been confirmed in more than 500 people globally, including three recent cases in the US. At least 171 people have died, according to the World Health Organization.

    MERS is a new virus, but it is not yet a global emergency or epidemic. Two of the American cases were health workers in Saudi Arabia, and the third case caught it from the first man who contracted it.

    The virus spreads from one person to another, but not very well, and usually only with close and prolonged contact.

    The symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath. There is no specific treatment yet, but early intervention can improve chances of recovering.