Hospital where first US MERS patient is being treated issues statement

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MUNSTER, Ind (May 2, 2014)– Officials from Community Hospital in Munster have released a statement about the patient at their hospital who is the first confirmed US case of the deadly virus MERS.

Statement in full:

“Today, May 2, 2014, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) conducted a joint press briefing to announce the first confirmed case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in the United States. As just announced by the ISDH, the patient is being treated at Community Hospital in Munster, Indiana. In light of federal privacy regulations, we can only disclose that the patient is in good condition. We are maintaining appropriate isolation protocols for the protection of health care staff.

Community Hospital recognized the possibility of the MERS infection and acted quickly to institute isolation protocols to contain the possible spread of the virus. Community Hospital has been working cooperatively with the CDC and ISDH regarding tracking of patient family members and monitoring of exposed health care workers. This patient was not out in the local community and, therefore, any public exposure was minimal.

Again, this disease requires close contact for transmission, and the patient’s activities in the United States have been very limited and thus widespread cases are not expected. However, in an abundance of caution, the exposed family members and health care workers will be monitored daily throughout the 14-day incubation period to watch for the development of any signs or symptoms of MERS-CoV. Since there is limited data regarding MERS-CoV, and because this is the first confirmed case in the United States, Community Hospital will be a data surveillance site for the CDC. 

As noted by the Indiana Governor’s Office and the ISDH, Community Hospital recognized and identified this rare disease and acted quickly to contain the situation and protect the public.”

MERS-CoV, short for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, is a type of coronavirus. 

The CDC and the Indiana State Department of Heath are conducting a joint investigation of the first case of MERS-CoV in the United States. MERS-CoV, a virus new to humans, was first reported in the Arabian Peninsula in 2012.

The patient, a U.S. citizen, flew from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, to London, England and then to Chicago on April 24. From Chicago the patient took a bus to Indiana. On the 27th, the patient began to experience respiratory symptoms, including shortness of breath, coughing, and fever. The patient went to an emergency department in an Indiana hospital on April 28th and was admitted on that same day. The patient is being well cared for and is isolated.

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