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CDC confirms first case of MERS virus in American

CDC Confirms First Case Of Mers Virus In American


NEW YORK (AP) -- Health officials on Friday confirmed the first case of an American infected with a mysterious Middle East virus. The man fell ill after arriving in the U.S. about a week ago from Saudi Arabia where he is a health care worker.

The man is hospitalized in Indiana with Middle East respiratory syndrome, or MERS, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which is investigating the case along with Indiana health officials.

Saudi Arabia has been the center of an outbreak of MERS that began about two years ago. At least 400 people have had the respiratory illness, and more than 100 people have died. All had ties to the Middle East or to people who traveled there. Infections have been previously reported among health care workers.

MERS belongs to the coronavirus family that includes the common cold and SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome, which caused some 800 deaths globally in 2003.

The MERS virus has been found in camels, but officials don't know how it is spreading to humans. It can spread from person to person, but officials believe that happens only after close contact. Not all those exposed to the virus become ill.

But it appears to be unusually lethal - by some estimates, it has killed nearly a third of the people it sickened. That's a far higher percentage than seasonal flu or other routine infections. But it is not as contagious as flu, measles or other diseases. There is no vaccine or cure for MERS.

The CDC on Friday released only limited information about the U.S. case: The man flew to the United States about a week ago, with a stop in London. He landed in Chicago and took a bus to the neighboring state of Indiana. He didn't become sick until arriving in Indiana, the CDC said. Symptoms include fever, cough, breathing problems, which can lead to pneumonia and kidney failure.

CDC officials say they are sending a team to investigate the man's illness, his travel history and to track down people he may have been in close contact with.

Saudi Arabia health officials have recently reported a surge in MERS illnesses; cases have tended to increase in the spring. Experts think the uptick may party be due to more and better surveillance. Researchers at Columbia University have an additional theory - there may be more virus circulating in the spring, when camels are born.

U.S. health officials have been bracing for the arrival of one or more cases, likely among travelers. Isolated cases of MERS have been carried outside the Middle East. Previously, 163 suspected cases were tested in the U.S. but none confirmed.


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lucloomis May 02 2014 at 10:30 PM

"...At least 400 people have had the respiratory illness, and more than 100 people have died... it has killed nearly a third of the people it sickened...."

Last time I checked 100 is not 1/3 of 400.

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5 replies
cmax383666 May 02 2014 at 9:30 PM

isolate any one from areas coming into this country at their expense unless they were under government orders to be there

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raz66482 May 02 2014 at 9:30 PM

The patient is being treated at Community Hospital in Munster Indiana
Read more: http://www.myfoxchicago.com

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LORIRAT May 02 2014 at 9:29 PM

Where are they posting the flight #'s that this man was on??? Especially the Chicago flight.

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1 reply
Merle LORIRAT May 02 2014 at 10:37 PM

While I may look stupid to some but when I fly I carry a large packet of disinfectant wipes and wipe everything down before I touch it. It took me a couple of flights before I noticed I always got a respiratory infection a couple of days after I landed. Better to look silly than to die.

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1 reply
smoses80 Merle May 02 2014 at 10:55 PM

I hear you!! Just don't go overboard because you need some germs to live... Really :)

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Halle Germany May 02 2014 at 9:18 PM

Hey media, Democrat Senators and Congresspersons where are you all? Why aren't you questioning the WH where the serum is for this Pandemic? the MERS has been around for over two years now and has had very concerning deadly results in Saudi Arabia. And we certainly have a lot of Americans that work and travel back and forth as this one did and now has brought back this Pandemic to America.

You guys were VERY loud and angry towards Bush for he didn't have a serum for the Avian Pandemic flu in a month or two of its existence in 2005 or thereabouts. He got the serum and got it within 6 months of its original outbreak of that Avian Pandemic.

How about the Swine Flu Serum? 5 years in and still no Swine flu serum. Where's the media and those politicians. 10000 Americans died so far from the swine flu? Not a word. Not a word about Obama bring that flu back with him on AF one when he went to Central America.

Where's the outcry. From the Media? From the Politicians? Are they all scar

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2 replies
captliii Halle Germany May 02 2014 at 9:34 PM

Don't look to the USA for cures any more, we have no more incentive to produce anything because of Obama Care

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2 replies
brenhatestwinkie captliii May 02 2014 at 9:48 PM

sue happy americans did that, get a brain

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Merle captliii May 02 2014 at 10:38 PM

Our leaders what to kill some of us off so why find a cure. The DC group doesn't usually fly coach.

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ealbuilder Halle Germany May 02 2014 at 11:05 PM

honestly we should really wait before throwing accusations, for all we know the disease will not spread due to it having a bio-defense built for the heat of the middle east and end up fizzing out or for all we know they could be looking into a cure/vaccine you have to remember this is in the same family as the common cold and thats been around for years without a cure.

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Howard Hudnell May 02 2014 at 9:13 PM


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cactusj8 May 02 2014 at 9:13 PM

It is spread from camels to sub-humans by cuddling. 90% of straight Arabs admit to cuddling and spooning with same sex camels.

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debnaert May 02 2014 at 9:04 PM

\NO ONE from the middle east should be allowed ON OUR AIRLINES!

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6 replies
ccrnmom May 02 2014 at 9:02 PM

Viruses mutate (change) all the time. That's how they survive. Generally there is an animal involved; bird, pig, camel, etc. The animal is a vector; which means a virus already contagious to humans affects the animal and can (for lack of a better word) mix with another virus and this is how new viruses emerge. This is happening all the time all over the world. It's when there's a novel (new) virus that humans have to worry. Our immune systems don't have any of that particular antibodies to fight off the new virus. MERS is a novel virus, but not highly contagious, thank goodness.

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1 reply
mandmjlrscvca ccrnmom May 02 2014 at 9:10 PM

So you say maybe he kissed a camel or rode one another infected rider used? Good thing he didn't visit the White House or shake the hand of POTUS, other wise he would have the incurable liars virus.

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1 reply
smoses80 mandmjlrscvca May 02 2014 at 11:37 PM

Oh PULLEEZE!! And Bush was the Non Liar???? Hello...Wake UP!!!

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spanker May 02 2014 at 8:59 PM

why do most of these viruses seem to always come from the same places, Africa and asia (middle East is part of asia) ? keep letting everyone into the country

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1 reply
smoses80 spanker May 02 2014 at 9:09 PM

He is an American. Of course we would keep letting Americans into Their own country......................

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1 reply
reginaalexander3 smoses80 May 02 2014 at 11:46 PM

you not suppose to push the crate behind the camel , you are suppose to ride it to the nearest town.

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