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First Imported Case of MERS Coronavirus Confirmed in the U.S. — Physician’s First Watch

Medical News |
May 5, 2014

First Imported Case of MERS Coronavirus Confirmed in the U.S.

By Kelly Young

A healthcare worker is hospitalized in Indiana with Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) after returning from Saudi Arabia in April, making it the first case in the United States, the CDC reports.

On April 24, the person flew from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia to London, and then on to Chicago before boarding a bus to Indiana. On April 27, the patient began having respiratory symptoms, including shortness of breath, coughing, and fever, and was admitted to an Indiana hospital on April 28. Tests came back positive for the virus Friday afternoon. The patient is currently isolated, in stable condition, and receiving oxygen support.

The CDC is contacting people who may have had contact with the patient during travel and in the hospital, but officials note that this is precautionary.

"The MERS virus is of great concern because of the virulence," the Assistant Surgeon General Anne Schuchat said in a Friday press conference. "We've seen clinical respiratory illness that can be fatal up to a third of the time. We're not aware yet of confirmed sustained community transmission. In healthcare facilities with good infection control practices, we don't expect substantial transmission of this virus."

Schuchat was not specific about which hospital the patient is being treated at or other details about the patient, other than he or she was working in a healthcare facility in Saudi Arabia.

Reader Comments (2)

Jeffrey Freid,MD Physician, Internal Medicine, Southeastern PA

Thank you for this important piece of information. What makes this corona virus more virulent than other corona viruses? Given the amount of travel that occurs, why haven't we seen more cases in the US?

* * Other Healthcare Professional, Internal Medicine

Are all corona infection a virulant

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