News on Wellness

Florida MERS Patient Sits In Busy ER For Hours


In the United States’ only second case of the MERS virus in history, both of which have occurred this month and were both seen in patients travelling to the United States from Saudi Arabia, a Florida patient was left waiting in a busy hospital waiting room for four hours before being seen by medical professionals. It then took another eight hours to confirm that the patient had travelled from Saudi Arabia.

In the aftermath of the outbreak, medical personnel had to track down a total of 20 health professionals who may have been exposed to the virus, two of which have since come down with flu-like symptoms and one of which had already left for Canada before the investigation had begun. In total, another 100 individuals were tracked down who may have come into contact with the patient while at the hospital.

Although the MERS virus, which stands for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, has shown indications of being much less communicable than the typical flu, making it difficult to actually catch the virus in normal social settings, the virus kills approximately one in three who are infected and has no known treatment. Therefore, it is imperative that anyone who experiences flu-like symptoms to isolate themselves from others and contact medical professionals immediately, especially for individuals who have recently travelled to or from the Middle East or have come into contact with someone who has.

The virus is so serious, in fact, that the Orlando hospital where the patient was admitted has changed its policies in order to immediately establish a patient’s travel history and keep potentially infected individuals away from other patients. Medical professionals urge the public to not panic, but to also not underestimate the seriousness of this outbreak or the outbreak seen in Indiana earlier this month.

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