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Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) Arrives in US for First Time in Midwest

Mon May 05 2014 5:00 am  http://www.arlingtoncardinal.com/?p=69604
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First case of deadly MERS virus hits in U.S.; infected American patient is quarantined.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Friday announced the first case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in the U.S. The patient, a health care worker who traveled from Saudi Arabia, was on a flight last Thursday, April 24, 2014 from London to Chicago O’Hare International Airport, and then took a bus to Munster, Indiana. On Friday, a lab test confirmed he was infected with MERS-CoV.

As of 2 May 2014 MERS-CoV cases have been reported in …
Egypy
France
Germany
Greece
Italy
Jordan
Kuwait
Malaysia
Oman
Philippines
Qatar
Saudi Arabia
Spain
Tunisia
United Arab Emirates
United Kingdom
United States

The virus, characterized by fever and respiratory symptoms such as shortness of breath and cough, first appeared two years ago in Saudi Arabia. Since the discovery of the disease and virus, the World Health Organization has confirmed infections in 262 people in 12 countries. At least 93 people who were infected with MERS-CoV have died. Another 100 people have tested positive for the MERS-CoV, but are not included in the health organization’s tally, said Dr. Anne Schuchat, assistant surgeon general and director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) is reporting higher numbers as of APril 30, 2014 with 424 cases and 131 deaths.

No vaccine exists to protect against the MERS-CoV. Treatment consists of standard supportive care for a respiratory illness and Advanced Life Support in severe cases.

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is monitoring the situation. “We will continue to work with the CDC and the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) concerning the MERS-CoV patient who traveled from London to Chicago and then to Indiana,” said Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) Director Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck.

“The CDC, IDPH and CDPH do not consider passengers on the flight or bus to be close contacts of the patient and therefore are not at high risk.”

As a precautionary measure, the CDC began contacting the plane and bus passengers beginning Saturday, May 3. If the CDC identifies ill individuals with possible MERS-CoV, it will notify CDPH and IDPH.

“There is no reason to suspect any current risk to travelers or employees at O’Hare Airport at this time,” said CDPH Commissioner Bechara Choucair. “We will continue to work closely with the CDC and IDPH to protect the public’s health.”

IDPH has activated the expert medical staff at Illinois Poison Center to operate the MERS-CoV hotline. Illinois residents and medical professionals who have concerns or questions should call 1-844 565-0256.

See also …
CDC Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS)

European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) Epidemiological update: Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV)

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