Indiana Health Dept.: No new cases of MERS reported

1st U.S. case of virus confirmed in Munster

MUNSTER, Ind. - No new cases of MERS have been reported since the first U.S. case was confirmed at a Munster hospital this week , health officials said.

On Friday, the Centers for Disease Control officially confirmed that a patient at Community Hospital in Munster, Ind., had the first case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (also known as MERS-CoV, or simply MERS) reported in the United States.

The disease, which presents with severe flu-like and respiratory symptoms and has been fatal in as much as 30 percent of patients, had previously been reported almost exclusively in Saudi Arabia and six surrounding countries.

“We are very pleased the patient is improving and no other cases have been identified at this time,” said Indiana State Health Commissioner William VanNess II, M.D. "The swift diagnosis and precautionary measures taken have undoubtedly greatly helped reduce the risk of this potentially serious virus spreading.”

The patient, a healthcare provider who had recently traveled back to the U.S. from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, was admitted to the Munster hospital on April 28.

As MERS may not become symptomatic for as many as 14 days after infection, hospital staff who had direct contact with the patient prior to isolation have been placed on temporary home isolation.

They will be allowed to return to work after the incubation period is over and they receive negative laboratory results.

“The patient is in full isolation and presents no risk to patients, staff or the general community,” said Don Fesko, CEO of Community Hospital in Munster.

Community Hospital in Munster has advised anyone who visited the hospital's emergency department between 6:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. on April 28 to watch for signs and symptoms of MERS, which are similar to those of influenza and include congestion, fever of more than 100.4 degrees, body aches and diarrhea.

The Indiana Department of Health has established a hotline for state residents who have questions about the MERS virus. The hotline will be open seven days a week until further notice from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The number is 1-877-826-0011.

More information about the MERS Coronavirus can also be found here .

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