MERS in the United States

, Posted: Mon, May 19 2014 at 8:46 AM, Updated: Mon, May 19 2014 at 3:41 PM

MERS in the United States

Monday health officials are warning the deadly virus, MERS, can be easier to transmit than previously thought.

The concern comes after a person in Illinois contracted MERS after limited contact. The contact in "this case" came stateside during a business meeting. Just 40 minutes and a brief handshake between an infected man from Indiana who'd been working in Saudi Arabia, and an Illinois man who picked up the infection.

"It looks like this will be the first case in the U.S. of contraction or transmission of MERS, so this makes us very concerned at this point," says Lamar Hasbrouck of the Illinois Public Health Department.

Symptoms range from none, to a severe cold and respiratory problems. There is no vaccine or cure and only symptoms can be treated. The virus has now spread to 15 countries, about 600 people in all have been sickened, one third of them had died.

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