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Illinois Man Who Had Contact With Indiana MERS Patient Tests Positive For Virus

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(CBS) – An Illinois man has become the third person to test positive for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus and had close contact with an Indiana MERS patient, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The man did not require medical care is reported as feeling well, according to the CDC.

An Indiana man became the first case of MERS reported in the U.S. and was hospitalized on April 28 after returning from a trip to Saudi Arabia. The CDC says the Illinois man met with the Indiana MERS patient on two occasions before the patient was identified as having the virus. That patient has since been released from the hospital.

Health officials have been monitoring the health of the Illinois resident every day since May 3. The Illinois resident initially tested negative for MERS on May 5 but test results reported on May 16 showed an apparent past MERS infection.

The CDC says the Illinois man likely got the virus from the Indiana patient and developed antibodies to fight MERS.

State Department of Public Health director Dr. Lamar Hasbrouck says doctors are repeating tests on the Illinois resident who appears to have tested positive for MERS.

He says if repeated tests confirm the “positive” status, it could change authorities’ guidance about the disease.

“It is a little murky at this point in time, so we are really working closely with the CDC and following up the lab tests to see what we can learn from this case, but it does look like the first case of transmission in the U.S. so that would be concerning,” said Hasbrouck.

The Illinois Department of Health has set up a hotline for residents and medical professionals. Anyone with questions can call 1-844-565-0256.

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