In a follow up to a report Friday, the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) is reporting the still unnamed MERS coronavirus case, the first in the United States, remains hospitalized in good condition and is improving each day.
According to a IDSH news release Saturday, State Health Commissioner William VanNess II, M.D. said, “We are very pleased the patient is improving and no other cases have been identified at this time,” he said. “The individual has received excellent care while at Community Hospital in Munster. The swift diagnosis and precautionary measures taken have undoubtedly greatly helped reduce the risk of this potentially serious virus spreading.”
“The patient is in full isolation and presents no risk to patients, staff or the general community,” said Don Fesko, CEO of Community Hospital in Munster. “We are thoroughly prepared to handle respiratory infections. We continue to work closely with the CDC and State Health Department and are following every recommendation. Safety is our top priority.”
A team from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) arrived in Indianapolis Friday and the Community Hospital in Munster yesterday to assess the situation. For more infectious disease news and information, visit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page.
Since symptoms of MERS may take up to 14 days to occur, staff members at the hospital who had direct contact with the patient prior to the patient being placed in full isolation have been taken off duty and placed in temporary home isolation. Those individuals are being closely monitored for any signs or symptoms of the virus and will be allowed to return to work once the incubation period is over and they have confirmed negative laboratory results. There have been no reported cases of people without symptoms transmitting this virus.
In addition, on the other side of the Atlantic, Public Health England has contacted UK passengers who were sitting in the vicinity of the affected passenger to provide health information. The Indiana patient was on British Airways Flight 262 from Riyadh to London.
According to the CDC, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) is viral respiratory illness first reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012. It is caused by a coronavirus called MERS-CoV. Most people who have been confirmed to have MERS-CoV infection developed severe acute respiratory illness. They had fever, cough, and shortness of breath. About 30% of these people died.
So far, all the cases have been linked to six countries in or near the Arabian Peninsula. This virus has spread from ill people to others through close contact. However, the virus has not shown to spread in a sustained way in communities. The situation is still evolving.