WEBSTER — A Galveston County man who was put in isolation at Clear Lake Regional Medical Center after showing symptoms of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome tested negative for the virus, officials said Thursday evening.

The man, who was in his 70s and recently traveled to Saudi Arabia, was tested after he reported some symptoms of the virus at a Texas City clinic on Wednesday, said Kurt Koopmann, public information officer for the Galveston County Health District.

The man did not have MERS but died of unrelated causes, said Rita Cunningham, marketing director for the medical center.

“On behalf of the hospital, we wish to express our sympathy to the patient’s family on their loss,” Cunningham said in a statement.

The county health district worked with the Texas Department of State Health Services and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to complete the testing.

“We are glad to report the test for MERS was negative, and we are also glad our medical provider in the Coastal Health and Wellness clinic was informed enough to consider the virus as a possibility,” Mark Guidry, the health district’s CEO, said in a statement.

A viral respiratory illness first reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012, MERS can be fatal in about 30 percent of cases, according to the CDC.

Symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath, according to the CDC.

The virus is transmitted through close contact with infected people. There have been two confirmed cases of MERS in the United States, according to the CDC.

Contact reporter Alex Macon at 409-683-5241 or alex.macon@galvnews.com.

(1) comment

rah

Great article. Here is some more information that I found online to add to what you wrote Alex.

A new aggressive pathogen has recently been identified; it's a coronavirus that causes symptoms of fever, cough, and shortness of breath that may become severe or deadly. The disease is termed MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome or MERS-CoV). The disease was first noted in Saudi Arabia in 2012. Researchers suggest the MERS virus originated in animals (camels) and, like other viruses, mutated to be able to infect humans. MERS has currently spread to about 18 countries over the world to date (for example, Egypt, Turkey, France, Greece, Tunisia, Italy, UK, and the U.S.). Unfortunately, in March 2014, the numbers of people infected started increasing worldwide. There is worldwide concern about this infection; of the approximately 500 individuals diagnosed with MERS so far, about 30% have died, resulting in a 70% survival rate.

Although some people with MERS virus infection have mild or even no symptoms, many others suffer flu-like symptoms (fever, cough, malaise; some develop diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and kidney failure) that progress to a severe respiratory syndrome that has caused death, as mentioned above, in about 30% of people infected. Although the majority of patients have had close association with an infected person (family members and health-care workers), a recent case report documents only a casual contact with an infected individual (business meeting), suggesting that prolonged contact may not be required to infect other individuals. Spread or transmission of the virus is thought to be by direct contact, but research is ongoing to determine the precise way the virus is spread.


Credit: http://www.medicinenet.com/symptoms_of_mers_virus_infection/views.htm


Of course none of want to catch this so we need to know how it is transmitted. I assume the clinic has taken measures to not allow this spread?

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