Officials believe MERS virus has been contained - FOX 32 News Chicago

Officials believe MERS virus has been contained

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MUNSTER, Ind. (FOX 32 News) - Monday morning, state and national health officials updated the public on the status of the first known MERS patient in the United States.

Last week, Community Hospital in Munster went down in history books for treating the first U.S. case of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, also known as MERS. As of Sunday, no other cases of MERS were identified in the United States.

"We are pleased the patient is improving and no other cases have been identified at this time," said Don Fesko, Community Hospital CEO. "The safety of our patients and staff remains our top priority, and we are following every recommendation provided by the CDC and Indiana State Department of Health."

State and federal officials, including Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, held a news conference at 10:30 a.m. Monday.

Health officials say the patient remains hospitalized, but is showing improvement. he remains in isolation at Community Hospital.

Health officials also said that they expect the man to be released soon from the hospital.

They believe they have contained the virus. Community Health officials said the patient's activity in the United States was very limited before being diagnosed with MERS. They say they handled the case with an abundance of caution. The hospital is still monitoring the health care workers who treated him at the hospital. So far, they have tested negative for MERS. 

During the press conference, Governor Pence praised Community Hospital for their "swift diagnosis" of the patient. Pence attributes the fact the virus did not spread to the quickness of the hospital.

MERS is similar to SARS, but often more deadly. Doctors believe the incubation period is anywhere from two to 14 days.

As for the patient, officials say he will return to Saudi Arabia at some point. He worked in a hospital that treated MERS patients, but they do not believe he had contact with the patients.



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