Thanks to Dr. Vincent Racaniello for tweeting the link to this post on NPR's Shot blog: MERS Virus Comes To U.S., But Risk To Public Is Deemed Low. Excerpt:
On April 24, an American health care worker based in Saudi Arabia flew from Riyadh to London to Chicago, then took a bus to Indiana.
Three days later, the man began experiencing shortness of breath and coughing. He also ran a fever. He visited the emergency room on April 28 and was tested by the Indiana public health lab. Today the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed that he is the first MERS patient in the United States.
MERS, the acronym for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, was first identified in Saudi Arabia in 2012. The virus very likely spreads from camels to humans and can cause pneumonia-like symptoms. The CDC says there have been 401 confirmed cases in 13 countries, with 244 in Saudi Arabia. Ninety-three people have died. Many patients worked directly with camels or had consumed camel meat or milk prior to contracting MERS.
The disease can pass from human to human, but there is "limited spread" in that way, according to the CDC, typically to a health care giver or a household member who has close contact. MERS is not believed to spread readily in community settings. The CDC does not know how the patient in the U.S. contracted the disease.