DENVER (CBS4)– Warnings have been posted at Denver International Airport about the danger of the potentially deadly virus “MERS.” Travelers passing through the airport will see the signs posted at all screening areas.
MERS stands for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome. It first surfaced in the Arabian Peninsula.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention asked that major airports post the warnings after the second case of MERS landed in the U.S.
“The CDC is taking the situation very seriously and working in close coordination with local authorities,” said White House Press Secretary Jay Carney.
The latest case has surfaced in Orlando, Fla. The first reported case of MERS in the U.S. is recovering in Indiana.
The signs were put up on Wednesday morning. Travelers in Denver were aware of the virus but not overly concerned.
“It’s a pretty serious disease,” said one traveler.
“I mean that sign says going to the Arabian Peninsula, I’m going to Las Vegas,” said another traveler.
“I’m not too worried because I’m not traveling internationally but I am being careful,” said yet another traveler.
A 44-year-old patient is being treated for MERS at a hospital in Orlando. Two health care workers exposed to the man with the rare virus have tested negative.
The hospital is awaiting test results from 18 other employees.
“It’s very serious,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Lisa Miller.
She said there are no MERS cases in Colorado.
Some travelers to the Arabian Peninsula have returned to Colorado and developed symptoms.
“We’ve tested those to make sure it’s not MERS and it has not been MERS,” said Miller.
The virus causes coughing and fever and can lead to pneumonia and death. More than 500 people in the Middle East have been infected this year, 145 have died.
The infected health care worker now hospitalized in Florida came from Saudi Arabia.
Currently there is no treatment or vaccine for the MERS virus. Despite a recent spike in cases MERS is not considered a global health emergency.