Via nwi.com: First U.S. case of deadly Middle East virus arrives in Munster. Excerpt:
MUNSTER | The first U.S. case of a deadly virus that originated in the Middle East has been confirmed in Northwest Indiana.
The infected person is being treated at Community Hospital and is in stable condition, requiring oxygen support, according to Indiana and national health officials.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) Friday afternoon.
The hospital has contacted all high-risk individuals.
The state department of health recommends, in an abundance of caution, that people who visited the emergency department at Community Hospital between 6:30 and 9:30 p.m. on Wednesday to watch for signs and symptoms.
Those who experience symptoms such as congestion, cough, fever over 100.4, shortness of breath, pneumonia, body aches and diarrhea should call their health care provider about possible exposure.
The Indiana State Department of Health has established a hotline for Hoosiers to call with questions. The hotline will be open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. seven days a week until further notice. The number is (877) 826-0011.
The infected patient, a health care worker, flew April 24 from Saudi Arabia to London and then to Chicago.
The person rode a bus from Chicago to Indiana, health officials said.
On Tuesday, the patient experienced shortness of breath, coughing and fever. The person went to the Emergency Department at Community Hospital Wednesday and was admitted that day.
Because of the patient's symptoms and recent travel, doctors tested for MERS-CoV. MERS-CoV is a viral respiratory illness which was first reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012.
As of Friday, 262 people in 12 countries were confirmed to have the disease, and 93 died. More than 100 other patients have a confirmed case but are not included in the World Health Organization tally, said Dr. Anne Schuchat, Assistant Surgeon General, United States Public Health Service and Director, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.
Health officials do not know where the virus came from or how it spreads. There is no vaccine or treatment protocol for the virus. The virus does tends to spread in hospitals, not in community settings, Schuchat said.
On reflection, I'm surprised that the returned HCW actually walked into the hospital's ED. Put yourself in his place: last week you were working a Riyadh hospital where MERS patients were almost certainly being cared for, whether you were involved with them or not.
Now you're back in the US and you've been feeling increasingly ill—ill enough to decide you need to go to Emergency. Given your symptoms, MERS should be at the top of your mind; however you got to the hospital, it would be wiser to stay out on the sidewalk and call them to come out and collect you. That way, the number of potential contacts would be sharply reduced.
So far, by the way, I've seen nothing about any family or social contacts the patient might have had since returning to the Metro Chicago region.