MERS cases in Florida drop dramatically

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption In 2017, there were 524 confirmed cases of coronavirus

The number of confirmed cases of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in Florida has plummeted by 97% since 2018, the latest records show.

The state has now reported 53 cases of the potentially deadly virus, more than a tenth of the 313 infections in the United States.

Most of the cases of MERS-CoV have been in Palm Beach and Broward counties.

The virus causes fever, cough and shortness of breath.

People who caught the virus in Florida were most likely to travel to the Middle East or Asia.

Some doctors had suggested that the US-wide tally of cases could be inflated by over-reporting by some authorities.

However, during the 2013 outbreak, cases were confirmed in every US state.

The outbreak was followed by a strong global reaction with hospitals turning away families at the airport.

If patients developed severe pneumonia, they may have had to be taken to hospital on air ambulances.

Health care workers were also warned not to take antibiotics for colds or viral illness if they might bring MERS into the hospital.

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