Update on MERS virus case in NW Indiana - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Update on MERS virus case in NW Indiana

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Federal and state health officials praised the fast and effective response to a man in northwestern Indiana who is the first case of an American infected with a mysterious virus from the Middle East.

Health agencies said the patient was in good condition at Community Hospital Munster.  Doctors said they believe he will be sent home soon.

Officials say the man fell ill with Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, or MERS, after flying to the U.S. last month from Saudi Arabia, where he was a health care worker.  The CDC says about 100 people were on the plane and 10 people on a bus the infected patient took.  The hospital says 50 members of staff had contact before being put in isolation.  

All staff has tested negative so far.  The virus does have a potential incubation period of up to two weeks.  Staff will continue to be tested through that time.

Doctors say the patient had limited exposure to other members of the community before being admitted.  Officials say MERS generally only spreads through close contact, which means it is highly unlikely someone could contract MERS by walking near an infected person on the street.  His family has been put on home isolation to avoid spread as a precaution.

At least 400 cases of the respiratory illness have been reported in the past two years, and more than 100 people have died. Officials say it isn't highly contagious, but there is no cure.

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