The Washington Times-Herald

Community

May 14, 2014

MERS can be a dangerous virus

INDIANAPOLIS — A case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) has been confirmed in a patient in Northwestern Indiana by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Indiana State Department of Health is working with CDC and others to identify potential additional cases and to prevent further transmission of the disease. This is the first case of MERS-CoV in the United States.

MERS-CoV is viral respiratory illness which was first reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012. Health officials do not know where the virus came from or exactly how it spreads. There is no available vaccine or specific treatment recommended for the virus. While MERS-CoV has been shown to spread in hospitals, there is currently no evidence of sustained spread of MERS-CoV in community settings.

“I want to assure every Hoosier that we have deployed the full resources of the Indiana State Department of Health to engage in tracking this case, assessing the risk to the public, and working to prevent the spread of this virus,” said Governor Pence. “We are working in cooperation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and encourage those who may have been exposed to this virus to report any symptoms to their medical provider and take all necessary precautions. Further, I commend Community Hospital in Munster, their staff and physicians for their swift professionalism in diagnosing and addressing this case.”

On April 24, the patient traveled by plane from Saudi Arabia to London, England, then from London to Chicago, Illinois. The patient then took a bus from Chicago to Indiana. On the 27th, the patient began to experience increasing respiratory symptoms, including shortness of breath, coughing, and fever. The patient visited the Emergency Department at Community Hospital in Munster on April 28 and was admitted that same day.

The patient is being well cared for, is isolated and is in stable condition. Because of the patient’s symptoms and travel history, physicians at the hospital decided a MERS-CoV test was appropriate.

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