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CDC Advises U.S. Health Professionals to Be Alert for MERS

Atypical presentations, including mild illness without fever, diarrheal illness, have been reported

FRIDAY, June 12, 2015 (HealthDay News) — Government officials are advising U.S. health professionals to be alert for signs and symptoms of Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) following an outbreak in South Korea.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday issued a reminder to physicians to ask patients with severe respiratory illness if they recently traveled, according to a report from the Associated Press.

The CDC has offered criteria to assist physicians in identifying patients for testing: fever and pneumonia or acute respiratory distress syndrome with relevant travel or contact history; fever and symptoms of respiratory illness and being in a health care facility within 14 days before symptom onset in a relevant country or territory; and fever or symptoms of respiratory illness and relevant contact.

The “criteria serve as guidance for testing; however, patients should be evaluated and discussed with public health departments on a case-by-case basis if their clinical presentation or exposure history is equivocal (e.g., uncertain history of health care exposure),” according to the CDC’s Interim Guidance for Health Professionals document.

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