US reports third case of MERS virus

An Indian worker wears a mouth and nose mask as he touches a camel at his Saudi employer’s farm on May 12, 2014 outside Riyadh. Camels have been cited as a likely source of the disease

An Illinois man has contracted the MERS respiratory virus after coming into contact with the first case of the mysterious Middle East pathogen in the United States, become the third infected person.

It was during an ongoing investigation on the first case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus in the United States that officials identified the new case, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Saturday.

“CDC officials explained that these laboratory test results are preliminary and suggest that the Illinois resident probably got the virus from the Indiana patient and the person’s body developed antibodies to fight the virus,” the agency said in a statement.

It said the Illinois resident, who has not recently traveled outside the United States, met twice with the Indiana patient before he was identified as the first known case of MERS in the United States.

Click on post title for BONUS: The scary reason Saudi farmers are kissing camels despite MERS warnings

MERS is very scary. This week, while avoiding the term global health emergency, the World Health Organisation announced that the deadly viral infection was both serious and urgent. So far, there have been 571 confirmed cases of MERS; 171 of those people died from the disease.

There’s one place, however, where the mood about MERS isn’t scaring everyone. It’s also the place where the infection was first reported in 2012 and where almost 500 recorded cases have been found so far: Saudi Arabia.

And the scepticism about the virus has taken a strange turn in Saudi Arabia, where people have begun kissing camels in response to MERS.

“Do sneeze in my face,” the farmer says in a video clip, according to a translation from Gulf News. “They claim camels carry the coronavirus,” he continues in the video, which has been watched over 11,000 times.

“Camels in the kingdom are like dairy cows, beef cows, racehorses, pulling horses, beloved Labradors, and living daily reminders of holy scripture, all in one,” Cynthia Gorney wrote for the National Geographic this week, noting that camels are featured honourably in the Koran.

Partly due to this fondness for camels, and partly due to a perceived lack of transparency from the Saudi government about MERS, a lot of people aren’t totally convinced by the warnings about camels.

الله يستر من فيروس كورونا ولكن ما نقدر نصبر عن الابل لها محبة خاصة والصورة تغني عن الكلام . pic.twitter.com/urHIUzlr5J
— نواف الحدباء (@nawaf4908) May 9, 2014

h/t for Bonus story to GR

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