UPDATE: First case of MERS in US is in Munster, IN - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

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UPDATE: First case of MERS in US is in Munster, IN

Posted:
Health officials say a deadly virus from the Middle East has turned up for the first time in the U.S., and the patient is being treated in Indiana. The Centers for Disease Control says it is investigating along with health officials in Indiana.

The Indiana State Department of Health says the patient is being treated at Community Hospital in Munster.  The patient returned to the United States by way of London.  The patient landed in Chicago and then took a bus into Indiana.

The CDC says the patient was a healthcare worker doing work in Saudi Arabia.  The patient was described as stable, but did require oxygen support.

Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) first surfaced two years ago. Since then, at least 400 cases of the respiratory illness have been reported, and more than 100 people have died.

Saudi Arabia has been the center of the outbreak. All the victims have had ties to the Middle East or to someone who traveled there.  The virus has been found in camels, but officials don't know how it is spreading to humans.

When the case has spread out of the Middle East, the CDC says its continued spread in those countries has been limited to family members of the original patient or healthcare workers treating the patient.  A CDC spokesperson said there is currently no unprotected exposure to the patient, and that has been the case since the infection was suspected to be MERS.

On their Frequently Asked Question page regarding MERS, the CDC says you are not considered to be at risk of contracting MERS unless you have "had close contact, such as caring for or living with someone who is being evaluated for MERS-CoV infection."

ISDH has set up a hotline for you to get your questions on MERS answered.  Beginning Saturday, May 3 at 8:00am you can call to learn more.  You can call 877-826-0011 from 8:00am to 4:30pm to reach the hotline. 

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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