Officials at the Centers for Disease Control have concluded an Illinois man who initially tested positive for MERS does not have the virus.
After conducting further tests on the Illinois man, who was believed to have contracted the third identified case in the United States of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, the CDC released a statement Wednesday saying he did not have the disease.
The Illinois man is a business associate of the first person in the U.S. to contract Middle East Respiratory Syndrome. That man was a health care worker in Saudi Arabia who traveled to visit family in Indiana.
According to the CDC, the two men had “extended face-to-face contact,” so the Illinois man underwent voluntary tests to determine if he had caught the virus.
While preliminary tests done to the Illinois man showed positive results for traces of MERS, the most current tests show no signs of the virus.
Leading the CDC’s MERS response efforts is David Swerdlow, M.D., who issued the following statement:
“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. 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.”
The CDC say active MERS infection has not been found in any of the contacts of the two people in the U.S. confirmed to have the disease. However, officials say investigations are ongoing, including voluntary serology testing of contacts.