CDC confirms U.S. MERS-CoV patients did not spread virus to high-risk contacts

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed on Tuesday that neither of the two Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) patient in the U.S. spread the disease to their household members or healthcare workers.

The CDC collected specimens from those who had come into contact with the two MERS-CoV patients, one in Florida and the other in Indiana, who were confirmed to have the virus in May. The results of the rRT-PCR tests on those specimens came back negative for both current and previous MERS-CoV infection.

"The negative results among the contacts that CDC considered at highest risk for MERS-CoV infection are reassuring," David Swerdlow, who is leading CDC's MERS-CoV response, said. "Today, the risk of MERS-CoV infection in the United States remains low, but it is important that we remain vigilant and quickly identify and respond to any additional importations."

Almost all of the people who traveled on airplanes or buses with the infected patients were contacted by the CDC, public health agencies or foreign ministries of health.

None of those who were tested showed evidence of MERS-CoV, although the CDC said that may change as the investigation continues.

Most cases of MERS-CoV are characterized by an acute respiratory illness with a cough, fever or shortness of breath.