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First MERS patient recovering at Indiana hospital

The first known person in the U.S. to be diagnosed with Middle East Respiratory Syndrome is recovering at the Community Hospital in Munster, Indiana. State officials said this morning that the patient is expected to return home soon as his health is improving.

The first case of the virus in the country was confirmed on Friday, May 2. An epidemiologist from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the patient works in a hospital in Saudi Arabia where MERS patients are treated, but it is unclear if he was in direct contact with the diagnosed MERS patients.

CDC representatives confirmed last week that the patient carried the virus to Indiana on April 24 after flying from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, to London, and then to O’Hare Airport where he left for Indiana on a bus.

Health care officials in Britain contacted any passengers who sat near the patient. U.S. health care officials believe the virus offers a low risk to the general public.

Saudi officials stated that MERS was first discovered in Saudi Arabia in 2012. Of the 396 cases in the country, more than a quarter of the patients have died from the virus for which there is no treatment.

The patient’s initial symptoms included a cough and fever. Doctors tested for the virus at the Community Hospital and a diagnosis was eventually confirmed. He was put into isolation at the hospital, as well as any hospital staff members who had direct contact with the patient.

Community Hospital in Munster continues to reach out to anyone who may have been exposed to the virus, as well as administer MERS tests to family members and hospital workers who were in the vicinity of the patient.

The hospital urges people who visited the Emergency Department between the hours of 6:30p.m. and 9:30p.m. to be cautious of symptoms such as cold, fever and breathing problems. So far, no other cases of MERS have been confirmed and all tests are returning negative.

While the patient is still in isolation, he is feeling optimistic about his future.

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