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Update on MERS-CoV in Florida

By Florida Department of Health, Office of Communications

May 14, 2014

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 14, 2014

Contact: DOH—Orange Communications
(407) 858-1429 or (407) 858-1418

Orlando Health—Kena Lewis
(321) 841-8184

FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND ORLANDO HEALTH PROVIDE UPDATE ON MERS-CoV IN FLORIDA
~The investigation is contained and there is no broad risk to the general public~

TALLAHASSEE—The Florida Department of Health announced on May 12 the first Florida case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infection in Orange County. The patient remains in isolation at Dr. P. Phillips Hospital, is currently fever free, and continues to improve.

“We want to assure the public that MERS-CoV in Florida is contained and there is no broad threat to the general public,” said State Surgeon General and Secretary of Health, Dr. John Armstrong. “We are grateful to the team at Dr. P. Phillips Hospital for their timely diagnosis and care of the patient. Floridians are reminded to practice simple steps to stay healthy: wash your hands often, avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth and stay home if you are sick.”

“The highest priority for the Florida Department of Health in Orange County is the health and safety of residents and visitors in our community,” said Dr. Kevin Sherin, Director of the Florida Department of Health in Orange County. “The patient is receiving effective and timely care and testing is ongoing to ensure that no additional individuals have the infection.”

Contact Investigation Continues
As part of standard public health practices, the Florida Department of Health, in coordination with local and federal partners, continues its surveillance, contact investigation and testing. While testing is ongoing, the two health care workers who had close contact with the patient and showed symptoms have tested negative for MERS-CoV.

The Florida Department of Health continues to work closely with Dr. P. Phillips Hospital and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to ensure appropriate care of the patient and to protect the health of all residents and visitors in Florida.

“We are extremely pleased that none of our team members have tested positive, including the two team members that developed flu-like symptoms over the weekend,” said Antonio Crespo, MD, Infectious Diseases Specialist and Chief Quality Officer for Dr. P. Phillips Hospital. “We are working to complete this investigation and we remain cautiously optimistic that test results from other team members will also be negative.”

No Broad Risk of MERS-CoV
There is no broad risk of MERS-CoV infection for the general public and there is no threat to those traveling to the Orlando area. MERS-CoV is not easily spread. The case in Orange County is contained.

MERS-CoV is a reminder of the precautions that everyone can take to protect themselves, their families, and their communities from any communicable diseases:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Germs spread this way.
  • Stay at home when you are sick.

The information line for the public at the Florida Department of Health in Orange County is 407-858-1490. Information from the CDC for the public is available by calling 800-232-4636.

For more information, please visit DOH’s Online Newsroom or view the following resources:

The Department works to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts.

Follow us on Twitter at @HealthyFla and on Facebook. For more information about the Florida Department of Health please visit www.floridahealth.gov.

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