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Healthcare staffing agency, Aureus Medical, provides an update on MERS for the travel nurse

Omaha, NE, (June 23, 2014) - Frequent travel is part of a travel nurse's job and that often means spending time flying between different airports. Aureus Medical Group, a nationwide leader in healthcare staffing, provides up-to-date information concerning the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), a viral respiratory illness that has captured headlines this past month.

The disease was first identified in Saudi Arabia, and camels have been identified as one source of the infection in humans. MERS is contagious and potentially lethal, though it has been largely confined to the Middle East so far. As of June 4, there have been 681 laboratory-confirmed cases of MERS, all of which were connected to countries in the Arabian Peninsula.

To date, 22 airports in the U.S. have posted travel warnings about the disease.

Importantly, one-fifth of all MERS cases have occurred among health care workers, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Travel nurses should be sure to exercise caution in airports, keep hands clean and wash hands after seeing patients.

What to know
With that being said, the risk of contracting the virus is low. There have been only two confirmed cases of MERS in the U.S. Both involved health care workers who are believed to have been infected in Saudi Arabia before coming to the U.S.

U.S. officials noted that MERS does not pose a major threat to the American public because the virus is only passed through close contact.

So far, 204 people have died of MERS. The illness kills about 25 percent of the people who contract it, according to the CDC.

The beginning of MERS

The virus first surfaced in 2012 in the Middle East. Yet it wasn't until recently that scientists learned that camels were the source of the illness – although the original source remains unknown. Last November, a 44-year-old Saudi man was admitted to King Abdulaziz University Hospital in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, with what turned out to be MERS.

Before the man became ill, he was in close contact with his nine camels. Tests of the man and one of his camels were positive for MERS. Genetic testing verified that both the patient and camel had identical strains of the virus. The man had also infected his daughter, whose symptoms disappeared after three days without complications. The patient himself died of his illness.

Read the full article to learn the symptoms of MERS and prevention methods.

About Aureus Medical Group:

Aureus Medical Group is a national leader in healthcare staffing specializing in the successful placement of Nursing, Advanced Practice, Cardiopulmonary, Diagnostic Imaging, Medical Laboratory, Neurodiagnostics, Radiation Oncology, and Rehabilitation Therapy professionals, as well as Physicians, in hospitals and medical facilities nationwide. With more than 30 years of experience, Aureus Medical offers a full range of staffing options, including national contract (travel), local contract, and direct hire.  Aureus Medical is the largest affiliate of Omaha-based C&A Industries, a leading provider of human capital management solutions for more than 45 years.