Confirmed MERS case in Northwestern Indiana

WLFI File Photo
WLFI File Photo

MUNSTER, Ind. (WLFI) – A deadly respiratory virus has been reported at a hospital in northwestern Indiana. It’s the first confirmed case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, or MERS, in the United States.

On Friday, the Indiana Department of Health said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the virus in a patient at Community Hospital in Munster. The patient traveled by plane from Saudi Arabia to London, England, and then to Chicago. The patient then took a bus from Chicago to Indiana. On the 27th, the patient experienced respiratory symptoms including shortness of breath, coughing, and fever. The patient visited the Emergency Department at Community Hospital in Munster on April 28 and was admitted the same day. Because of the patient’s symptoms and travel history, doctors decided a MERS-CoV test was appropriate. The patient is isolated and in stable condition.

MERS was first discovered in 2012 and has infected at least 400 people since then. More than 100 have died. The CDC said all had ties to the Middle East or to people who traveled there.

In the Indiana case, the Health Department is asking people who visited the Emergency Department of Community Hospital in Munster between 6:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. on April 28, 2014, to watch for signs and symptoms. People who visited the ER during that period and begin experiencing symptoms are advised to contact their healthcare provider and let them know about possible exposure to MERS-CoV.

Symptoms of MERS-CoV are similar to those of influenza and include:

  • Congestion
  • Cough
  • Fever higher than 100.4
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pneumonia
  • Body aches
  • Diarrhea
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