There’s been a lot of attention to the deadly respiratory virus known as Middle East Respirator Syndrome (MERS), now that two confirmed cases have emerged in the United States. Both patients were travelers from Saudi Arabia. Most of the 571 confirmed cases worldwide are in the Middle East, particularly Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
With infections just a plane trip away, as experts like to say, here are the top five destinations in the United States for travelers arriving from Saudi Arabia and the UAE in the months of May and June, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The five accounted for 75 percent of the arrivals from those two countries; based on historical patterns, the CDC estimates that about 100,000 travelers will arrive in these cities in May and June of this year.
The CDC is urging travelers to and from the Arabian Peninsula to take extra precautions, such as avoiding contact with sick people and washing hands frequently. Anyone who comes down with fever, cough or shortness of breath within 14 days after traveling to the region should consult a physician.
The agency emphasizes, however, that there is no evidence that the disease is transmitted by casual contact. It appears to require close contact, such as patient to caregiver, for the disease to be communicated.
1. New York 30,680
2. Washington ~24,514
3. Los Angeles 15,070
4. Atlanta 14,567
5. Chicago 10,457
And let’s not forget our neighbor to the North. Toronto is also a big destination, with 14,889 travelers.