Florida Hospital Workers Who Treated MERS Patient Also Ill

Several local hospitals have set up same area

This bad boy has W.H.O worried

Two of the health care workers who treated a MERS patient in Florida have come down with respiratory symptoms, and are being tested to see if they may have caught the mysterious virus from him, hospital officials say.

In at least one of the cases it’s almost certain not to be MERS — the staffer started showing symptoms just a day after treating the patient, who’s the second person to be diagnosed with MERS in the United States. The incubation period for MERS — meaning the time it takes from contacting someone who’s infected to showing the first symptoms — is usually about five days. “We want to be extra cautious,” said Dr. Antonio Crespo, infectious disease specialist and chief quality officer for the P. Phillips Hospital in Orlando. “These two people were in contact with the patient without a mask.”

Video via: Mary Greeley

One of the staffers was treated and sent home, and the other is in a special isolation room at the hospital, like the MERS patient is. Health care workers who treat patients with the virus are the most likely to become infected themselves, probably because of the close contact. Crespo said 20 health care workers at two hospitals who may have been exposed to the virus are keeping themselves isolated at home and being regularly tested for MERS.

MERS up close and personal

The MERS patient, a 44-year-old health care worker from Saudi Arabia, was visiting family in Orlando when he became ill enough to visit the emergency room on May 8. He’s been in the hospital since May 9 and has been kept isolated under special conditions ever since doctors suspected he might have MERS.

Middle East respiratory syndrome virus (MERS) is on the rise, especially in Saudi Arabia. It’s infected more than 500 people since it was first identified in 2012, spread to 16 countries, and killed about a quarter of its victims. The World Health Organization has been holding a special meeting about the outbreaks and was expected to issue a new report on Wednesday.

The first U.S. patient with MERS, also a health care worker who had been working in Saudi Arabia, has gone home after treatment in an Indiana hospital. Doctors say the risk to the general public is very low. MERS is not terribly infectious. Studies of those who have become infected show they were usually in close and prolonged contact with a victim. But it’s a new virus, and very deadly compared to something like the flu, so doctors want to err on the side of caution.

Health detectives are tracking down everyone who flew on four flights with the MERS patient, from Saudi Arabia to London, then to Boston, Atlanta and Orlando. The trouble with treating any respiratory virus is they all have similar symptoms — fever, cough, body aches. And people get these viruses all the time. it takes about two days to test for something specific like MERS. If MERS is suspected, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises hospitals to just act as if it were MERS. So patients are being kept in special isolation rooms, with strict hygiene procedures. “When we go and visit the patient — I went this morning — I have to wear a special mask called an N-95 (respirator). I have to wear a gown and gloves. Once we get out of the room we dispose of everything,” Crespo told reporters.

White House press secretary Jay Carney

The MERS patient also visited a second hospital, the Orlando Regional Medical Center. Officials at the P. Phillips Hospital are not precisely sure why — he didn’t go to seek treatment, they say — but to be extra sure, they’ve asked five hospital staff who were in contact with him to stay home for 14 days, get tested for MERS and stay away from other people. But because he did not feel well, the patient didn’t travel around the region and mostly stayed home, doctors said. He did not go visit any tourist attractions in Orlando.

White House press secretary Jay Carney said President Obama had been briefed on the two cases.

Dr. Ken Michaels of the Florida Department of Health in Orange County says hospitals should prepare for cases like this. “I don’t think we have seen the last of this,” he told reporters. “We are going to see more travel from this part of the world.” With a surge of cases in Saudi Arabia, people are sure to carry the virus on trips with them, Michaels said — something that CDC and World Health Organization officials have also said. Both of the men who carried MERS to the U.S. worked in hospitals where MERS patients were treated — one in Jeddah, one in Riyadh. There’s no specific treatment for MERS. Patients get what’s called supportive care — intravenous fluids, oxygen or a breathing tube if needed, and pain medications.

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World Health Organization’s Ranking of the World’s Health Systems

Some people fancy all health care debates to be a case of Canadian Health Care vs. American. Not so. According to the World Health Organization’s ranking of the world’s health systems, neither Canada nor the USA ranks in the top 25.

Improving the Canadian Healthcare System does not mean we must emulate the American system, but it may mean that perhaps we can learn from countries that rank better than both Canada and the USA at keeping their citizens healthy.

Note: My Country, Scotland ALWAYS gets thrown in with the British average. Scottish NHS (National Health Service) is a lot better than England’s

Big ambitions: Scotland’s health service is aiming high while staying true to its foundations

World Health Organization Ranking; The World’s Health Systems

1 France
2 Italy
3 San Marino
4 Andorra
5 Malta
6 Singapore
7 Spain
8 Oman
9 Austria
10 Japan
11 Norway
12 Portugal
13 Monaco
14 Greece
15 Iceland
16 Luxembourg
17 Netherlands
18 United Kingdom – (England)
19 Ireland
20 Switzerland
21 Belgium
22 Colombia
23 Sweden
24 Cyprus
25 Germany
26 Saudi Arabia
27 United Arab Emirates
28 Israel
29 Morocco
30 Canada
31 Finland
32 Australia
33 Chile
34 Denmark
35 Dominica
36 Costa Rica
37 USA
38 Slovenia
39 Cuba
40 Brunei
41 New Zealand
42 Bahrain
43 Croatia
44 Qatar
45 Kuwait
46 Barbados
47 Thailand
48 Czech Republic
49 Malaysia
50 Poland
51 Dominican Republic
52 Tunisia
53 Jamaica
54 Venezuela
55 Albania
56 Seychelles
57 Paraguay
58 South Korea
59 Senegal
60 Philippines
61 Mexico
62 Slovakia
63 Egypt
64 Kazakhstan 65 Uruguay
66 Hungary
67 Trinidad and Tobago
68 Saint Lucia
69 Belize
70 Turkey
71 Nicaragua
72 Belarus
73 Lithuania
74 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
75 Argentina
76 Sri Lanka
77 Estonia
78 Guatemala
79 Ukraine
80 Solomon Islands
81 Algeria
82 Palau
83 Jordan
84 Mauritius
85 Grenada
86 Antigua and Barbuda
87 Libya
88 Bangladesh
89 Macedonia
90 Bosnia-Herzegovina
91 Lebanon
92 Indonesia
93 Iran
94 Bahamas
95 Panama
96 Fiji
97 Benin
98 Nauru
99 Romania
100 Saint Kitts and Nevis
101 Moldova
102 Bulgaria
103 Iraq
104 Armenia
105 Latvia
106 Yugoslavia
107 Cook Islands
108 Syria
109 Azerbaijan
110 Suriname
111 Ecuador
112 India
113 Cape Verde
114 Georgia
115 El Salvador
116 Tonga
117 Uzbekistan
118 Comoros
119 Samoa
120 Yemen
121 Niue
122 Pakistan
123 Micronesia
124 Bhutan
125 Brazil
126 Bolivia
127 Vanuatu 128 Guyana
129 Peru
130 Russia
131 Honduras
132 Burkina Faso
133 Sao Tome and Principe
134 Sudan
135 Ghana
136 Tuvalu
137 Ivory Coast
138 Haiti
139 Gabon
140 Kenya
141 Marshall Islands
142 Kiribati
143 Burundi
144 China
145 Mongolia
146 Gambia
147 Maldives
148 Papua New Guinea
149 Uganda
150 Nepal
151 Kyrgystan
152 Togo
153 Turkmenistan
154 Tajikistan
155 Zimbabwe
156 Tanzania
157 Djibouti
158 Eritrea
159 Madagascar
160 Vietnam
161 Guinea
162 Mauritania
163 Mali
164 Cameroon
165 Laos
166 Congo
167 North Korea
168 Namibia
169 Botswana
170 Niger
171 Equatorial Guinea
172 Rwanda
173 Afghanistan
174 Cambodia
175 South Africa
176 Guinea-Bissau
177 Swaziland
178 Chad
179 Somalia
180 Ethiopia
181 Angola
182 Zambia
183 Lesotho
184 Mozambique
185 Malawi
186 Liberia
187 Nigeria
188 Democratic Republic of the Congo
189 Central African Republic
190 Myanmar

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