(HealthDay News) — A third U.S. man – from Illinois – has tested positive for the MERS virus but shows no signs of the illness, federal health officials reported Saturday. A business associate of the man who brought the first known case of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome virus to the United States in late April, the Illinois man tested positive for the virus on May 16, officials from the U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention said in a statement.
The first case was diagnosed in a health care worker who had traveled to Saudi Arabia – the epicenter of the MERS outbreak – and returned to the United States before falling ill and being hospitalized in Indiana. The Illinois man has not traveled outside the United States and has not needed medical care, but lab tests spotted the infection in his blood, CDC officials said.
The Illinois man probably got the virus from the Indiana patient and developed antibodies to fight the virus, CDC officials said. The men had two business meetings together before the Indiana man fell ill, officials added.
“This latest development does not change CDC’s current recommendations to prevent the spread of MERS,” Dr. David Swerdlow, who is leading the CDC’s response to the infection, said in a statement released Saturday. So far, more than 570 people have fallen ill with the virus and 172 have died, most of them in Saudi Arabia.