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2 Hospital Staff Negative for MERS

Two Orlando hospital workers who had been monitored for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome after coming into contact with a Saudi MERS patient have been found negative, several media outlets are reporting Wednesday.

But as a precaution, health officials are monitoring other hospital staff and physicians who were exposed to the 44-year-old man either during his stay at Dr. P. Phillips Hospital, which began May 8, or a visit three days earlier to Orlando Regional Medical Center.

Because the unidentified MERS ptient sat for four hours in the emergency department at Phillips, Reuters reports, other patients who were there are being contacted by team members from the state Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control.

"The risk is negligible to the community," said Dr. Kevin Sherin, director of the Orange County Health Department. (see video)

One of the two hospital employees who were tested because they had respiratory symptoms had been hospitalized. Numerous others have been on quarantine at home, including at least three physicians.

MERS_CoV_particle_from_CDC_by_CYnthia_Goldsmith_and_Azaibi_Tamin.jpg
Credit CDC-- Cynthia Goldsmith, Azaibi Tamin

The Saudi patient, who was visiting family in Orlando, is doing fairly well, Dr. Antonio Crespo said at a media briefing in Orlando Wednesday. Crespo, an infectious disease specialist, said the man had a fever of 102 degrees last night.

This coverage will be updated. Earlier coverage:

The Saudi resident was being treated at Dr. Phillips Hospital, where he showed up at the emergency room on May 8. Three days earlier, he had visited Orlando Regional Medical Center with a friend who went to the hospital for a test.

"We are prepared for situations like this. This is what we do every day," Crespo said.

Crespo said the Saudi resident spent most of his time in Orlando at the home he was staying at, and he didn't visit any of the area's tourist attractions.

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