Via the Indianapolis Star: First U.S. case of MERS respiratory virus confirmed in Indiana.
The first case of a dangerous respiratory virus that originated in the Arabian peninsula has been confirmed in the United States -- in a patient in northwestern Indiana.
The patient, a health care worker who had recently traveled to the United States from Saudi Arabia, was hospitalized Monday in an unspecified city somewhere in the state, according to officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
On Friday lab results showed that the person was infected with the so-called Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus, known as MERS-CoV. The virus, characterized by respiratory symptoms and fever, first appeared two years ago in Saudi Arabia.
Since then, the World Health Organization has confirmed infections in 262 people in 12 countries. Of those, 93 people have died. Another 100 people have also tested positive for the disease but are not included in the tally, said Dr. Anne Schuchat, assistant surgeon general in the United States Public Health Service and director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.
"This is a reminder that diseases are just a plane ride away," Schuchat said. "MERS-CoV is now in our heartland."
The MERS virus has not been seen to spread rapidly from person to person in the community setting, although there have been some outbreaks in hospitals, Schuchat said. Those with pre-existing health conditions or weakened immune systems are at increased risk.
Last Thursday the person flew from Riyadh to London and then Chicago. The person then took a bus from Chicago to Indiana, Schuchat said. On Sunday the person started to experience symptoms and the next day the patient went to Community Hospital in Munster, where he or she remains in stable condition.
CDC officials declined to give additional specifics on the person's location or to where in Indiana he or she had traveled.
Wikipedia tells us that Munster is in northwest Indiana and is part of the Chicago metropolitan area.