First case of deadly MERS virus reported in the U.S.
May 3, 2014
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the first U.S. case of the deadly Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) on Friday. [Reuters]
The rate of infections in Saudi Arabia, where MERS was first discovered in 2012, have been on the rise with the total number of cases at 396. The death rate is currently listed at between 30 to 40 percent.
MERS involves primarily person-to-person contact with most people being infected in hospitals. At one Saudi Arabia hospital, three doctors quit rather than treat patients suffering from MERS.
The first U.S. person to contact MERS is a health care worker who had recently gone to Saudi Arabia to provide health care. The man traveled on April 24 from Riyadh to London, then to Chicago, and then took a bus to Indiana. He began experiencing shortness of breath, coughing, and fever on April 27 and was admitted to Community Hospital in Munster, Indiana, on April 28.
He is in stable condition.
“The CDC, IDPH (Illinois Department of Public Health) and CDPH (Chicago Department of Public Health) do not consider passengers on the flight or bus to be close contacts of the patient and therefore are not at high risk,” said Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck, director of the IDPH to Reuters.
The CDC is attempting to contact all passengers on the same plane and bus as the patient. In England, health care officials are contacting any passengers who sat next to the patient.