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.