In a follow-up to a report Friday concerning a patient in an Alabama hospital who presented with respiratory problems and had a travel history to Saudi Arabia, state health officials say that the preliminary work up to rule out Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MER-CoV) have turned up negative.


According to the official news release Saturday:

The Alabama Department of Public Health Bureau of Clinical Laboratories ran a panel of respiratory tests, including one for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV), on an individual in Alabama. The individual presented to a hospital in the state on Aug.13 with respiratory problems. Because of a history of having recently returned from Saudi Arabia, the patient was placed in negative-pressure isolation and a decision was made to perform a respiratory panel of tests. While initial tests at the State Lab were negative, additional testing is required to confirm or exclude MERS.

The patient was admitted to East Alabama Medical Center in Opelika.

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) is a viral respiratory illness that is new to humans. It was first reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012 and has since spread to several other countries, including the United States. Most people infected with MERS-CoV developed severe acute respiratory illness, including fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Many of them have died.


Robert Herriman is a microbiologist and the Editor-in-Chief of Outbreak News Today

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