(RxWiki News) The first MERS patient in the US was discovered late last week, to much concern from health officials and the public. But no further signs of the virus' spread have been seen in the US.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported on May 2 that the patient had been diagnosed with Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) after serving as a health care worker in Saudi Arabia.
Health officials reported on May 4 that the patient is recovering and that no additional infections have been uncovered during the ongoing investigation.
"Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water."
According to the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH), as of May 4, no additional MERS cases have been identified after the first US patient to be infected with the virus was discovered late last week.
The MERS patient is still hospitalized and seems to be recovering, said ISDH. The patient is in a hospital in Munster, Indiana, which is located along the state border with Illinois.
After discovering the illness, CDC reported that close contacts of the patient were being identified and advised. The patient flew from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia to London and then to Chicago on April 24, before taking a bus to Indiana. He was admitted to the hospital on April 28 with respiratory symptoms, such as trouble breathing and coughing, as well as fever.
"Since symptoms of MERS may take up to 14 days to occur, staff members at the hospital who had direct contact with the patient prior to the patient being placed in full isolation have been taken off duty and placed in temporary home isolation," explained ISDH. "Those individuals are being closely monitored for any signs or symptoms of the virus and will be allowed to return to work once the incubation period is over and they have confirmed negative laboratory results. There have been no reported cases of people without symptoms transmitting this virus."
According to CDC, there are still a lot of uncertainties about how the virus is spread, but there has been evidence of some person-to-person transmission in close settings, like in that of a hospital or a family home.
In an ISDH news release, Don Fesko, CEO of Community Hospital in Munster, Indiana, the facility where the MERS patient is currently hospitalized, stressed that precautions are being taken.
“The patient is in full isolation and presents no risk to patients, staff or the general community,” said Fesko. “We are thoroughly prepared to handle respiratory infections. We continue to work closely with the CDC and State Health Department and are following every recommendation. Safety is our top priority.”
CDC asked the public to visit a doctor if they experience respiratory symptoms or a fever within two weeks of visiting countries in or near the Arabian Peninsula, the region where all cases of MERS have been traced back to.