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Illinois health official: MERS risk extremely low

Published: Wednesday, May 14, 2014 11:53 p.m. CDT

CHICAGO – Illinois health officials say they’re on the lookout for any new cases of a rare virus from the Middle East. But so far there’s been no spread of the illness related to the first U.S. case of MERS in a man who traveled through Illinois to Indiana.

Illinois Department of Public Health Director LaMar Hasbrouck says the risk to the general public remains extremely low.

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome hasn’t been found to spread easily from person to person.

In Florida, hospital employees who came in contact with a Saudi resident who has the second confirmed U.S. case of MERS are being monitored for symptoms and have been told to stay home for two weeks.

MERS is a respiratory illness that can lead to shortness of breath, pneumonia and death.

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