The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced May 2nd the first confirmed case of Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in the United States in Indiana. The person was providing healthcare in Saudi Arabia before traveling by plane from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia to London, England into O’Hara International Airport in Chicago, Illinois and then took a bus from Chicago to Indiana. The U.S. patient began suffering symptoms April 27th.
The CDC is investigating along with health officials in Indiana; the CDC said “this case represents a very low risk to the general public.” Health officials do not know how the MERS virus spreads but it is thought it is transmitted from people who have very close contact with an infected person.
The MERS virus has been found in camels, but doctors are not sure how it is spreading to humans. The hub of the MERS outbreak is Saudi Arabia. Of the “401 confirmed cases of MERS infection in 12 countries all have originated in six countries in the Arabian Peninsula” states the CDC.
There is no vaccine, this virus’ symptoms are shortness of breath, coughing and fever. People with existing conditions or weakened immune systems are more at risk.