CDC: Meeting Did Not Spread MERS

After more definitive blood tests, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that an Illinois resident who came into close contact with an Indiana MERS patient did not contract the virus, contrary to a prior announcement.

Bob Grant
Bob Grant

Bob Grant is Editor in Chief of The Scientist, where he started in 2007 as a Staff Writer.

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May 28, 2014

Transmission electron micrograph of Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) coronavirusNIAIDIt turns out that an Indiana Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) patient who brought the disease back from a trip to Saudi Arabia did not transmit the MERS coronavirus (MERS-CoV) to an Illinois business associate as the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had previously stated. “After completing additional and more definitive lab tests, our experts have concluded that the Indiana patient did not transmit the virus to the Illinois resident,” said David Swerdlow, who is leading CDC’s MERS-CoV response, during a press briefing.

The test that changed the CDC’s tune regarding the Illinois resident was a neutralizing antibody assay that was conducted after ELISA and immunofluorescence assays indicated that he had been exposed to MERS-CoV. The CDC continues to test people who came in contact with the Indiana MERS patient and another person who tested...

“While we never want to cause undue concern among those who have had contact with a MERS patient, it is our job to move quickly when there is a potential public health threat,” said Swerdlow in a statement. “Because there is still much we don’t know about this virus, we will continue to err on the side of caution when responding to and investigating cases of MERS in this country.”

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