NewsHealthHealthcare / May 5, 2014

MERS Patient "Improving Rapidly"

Sam Klemet

The person being treated at Community Hospital in Munster for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, or MERS, is now in good condition, and doctors say he will go home soon.

Doctors are not releasing details about the patient, except he is a health care worker who traveled to the United States from Saudi Arabia late last month. He admitted himself to the hospital last week because of flu like symptoms.

Through tests and interviews with his family, it was determined the patient contracted MERS.

He initially required oxygen, but Alan Kumar of Community Hospital says the individual is "improving rapidly."

"He is on room air.  He is eating well.  He is walking around and doing quite well," said Kumar.

All 261 confirmed MERS cases have been linked to six countries in or near the Arabian Peninsula. The man being treated at Community Hospital traveled from Saudi Arabia to London to Chicago and took a bus to Indiana.

Officials say about three-fourths of the other passengers who could have come in contact with the patient have been contacted and none show signs of MERS.

Dr. Daniel Feikin with the Centers for Disease Control says it’s unlikely the virus would be passed along through casual contact.

"He had limited exposure to the community once he arrived.  He went directly to his family's house," said Feikin.  "There is no evidence that this virus spreads in the community.  It's really among close contacts at home, in health care settings who actually have direct contact with the patient."

When the patient is released, he will be on home isolation.  His family is already isolated, and if they leave the house, must wear a mask.

All health care workers – about 50 – who worked with the patient tested negative for MERS.  They also were taken off duty and are in temporary home isolation.

Symptoms of MERS may take up to 14 days to occur.

There are currently no travel restrictions to or from Saudi Arabia.

 

 

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