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BWI and Other Airports Hanging MERS Warning Posters

The virus, which has flared up in Saudi Arabia and nearby countries, can be difficult to treat. Travelers at 22 U.S. airports will soon see signs describing symptoms.

MERS warning posters have gone up in 22 airports in the U.S. Photo Credit: CDC
MERS warning posters have gone up in 22 airports in the U.S. Photo Credit: CDC
Baltimore/Washington International Airport is among 22 airports across the country to have posted signs warning travelers about the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, reported WMAR Baltimore.

The second case of the virus in the United States has been confirmed by the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a previous Patch story reported.

The newest patient is a healthcare professional who lives and works in Saudi Arabia. He is currently isolated and being cared for at a hospital in Florida.

MERS Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) is the virus responsible for the illness and was first reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012. Including the United States, there have been 538 confirmed cases in 14 countries; 145 of those patients died. Symptoms include, but are not limited to, respiratory illness, fever, coughing, and shortness of breath.

The virus is new to humans and there is currently no vaccine or specific treatment recommended for it, and it is unknown how the disease spreads.

“Given the dramatic increase in MERS cases in the Arabian Peninsula, we expected and are prepared for additional imported cases,” Dr. Anne Schuchat, assistant surgeon general and director of CDC’s National Center for Immunizations and Respiratory Diseases, said in a news release. “The reason for this increase in cases is not yet known, but public health investigations are ongoing, and we are pleased to have a team in Saudi Arabia supporting some of those efforts.”

The signs posted in airports warn travelers headed to the Arabian peninsula of MERS. They list symptoms of the illness, warn travelers to wash their hands, avoid touching their faces, and avoid close contact with sick people in order to prevent the spread of the disease and to contact healthcare professionals if they become ill within 14 days of traveling to the Arabian Peninsula.

According to WMAR, the CDC requested that busy airports post the warning signs at TSA checkpoints.

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