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article imageFirst U.S. case of deadly MERS virus confirmed - CDC

By Eliana Robinson     May 4, 2014 in Health
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is working to educate and not alarm the public amid the first confirmed case of MERS in the United States.
On Friday, an Indiana man became the first confirmed case of MERS in America. He had been providing health care services in Ridayh, Saudi Arabia where it is believed he acquired the virus. He first left Ridayh on April 24, making his way to London and Chicago, before taking a bus back to Indiana. On April 28, he was admitted to Community Hospital in Munster, Indiana.
At present, six countries in the Arabian Peninsula have reported cases including Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and the UAE. The virus an estimated 30% fatality rate. According to the World Health Organization, camels are believed to be the original source of the illness. Although, it is not clear how the virus spread from camels to humans, warnings have been issued advising Saudis against close contact with camels or their meat or milk.
Middle East Respiratory Syndrome or MERS is a coronavirus, like SARS and the common cold. The coronavirus is named for its appearance under microscope, with hallmark spikes giving the virus the look of a crown. Both the CDC and Indiana health officials insist that the virus poses a very low risk to the general public as it is not highly contagious.
But the virus can be transmitted from person to person through close contact. According to the CDC, close contact is defined as the care provided to the patient by a health care worker or family member or anyone who visited while he was ill. Health officials are following up with passengers that may have been in contact with the Indiana man.
Unfortunately, there is no vaccine or cure at this time.
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