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1st U.S. Case of Middle East Respiratory Virus in NWI

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The first case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in the United States has been confirmed in a patient in Northwestern Indiana today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 
According to a press release, following a flight from Saudi Arabia to London to Chicago on April 24th the individual involved, took a bus from Chicago to Indiana and began experiencing symptoms shortly after.  The person reportedly visited the Emergency Department at Community Hospital in Munster on April 28th being admitted that same day.  The Indiana State Department of Health is working with the CDC and others to identify potential other cases and to prevent further transmission of the disease.  Meanwhile, the patient is reported to be well cared for, is isolated and is in stable condition.  Due to the patient's symptoms and travel history, doctors at the hospital decided to test for the virus.
Community Hospital has reportedly contacted all high-risk individuals and as an extra caution, the hospital advises that anyone who visited the Emergency Department of Community Hospital in Munster between 6:30pm and 9:30pm on April 28, 2014, are advised to watch for signs and symptoms and to contact your healthcare provider alerting them about your possible exposure to MERS-CoV.
While health officials don't know where the respiratory virus came from or how it spreads, the first case was first reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012.  According to the CDC, there is no available vaccine or specific treatment recommended for the virus.  The symptoms of MERS-CoV are similar to the symptoms of influenza.
The symptoms of MERS-CoV are similar to the symptoms of influenza, and include:
·         Congestion
·         Cough
·         Fever over 100.4
·         Shortness of breath
·         Pneumonia
·         Body aches
·         Diarrhea
 
Although the MERS-CoV infection is not easily spread from person-to-person, close contacts of people with MERS-CoV can develop infections.
 
“We are doing everything in our power to work with the hospital, federal and other state partners, as well as the local health department to track and contain this disease in Indiana,” said State Health Commissioner William VanNess, M.D.  
 
If you do not have any of the symptoms, you can continue with your daily activities, such as going to work, school, or other public areas.
To help prevent the spread of MERS-CoV to other people, CDC advises that people follow these tips:  
·         Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds, and help young children do the same. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
·         Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze then throw the tissue in the trash.
·         Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
·         Avoid close contact, such as kissing, sharing cups, or sharing eating utensils, with sick people.
·         Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as toys and doorknobs.
 
The Indiana State Department of Health has established a hotline for Hoosiers to call with questions. The hotline will be open seven days a week until further notice from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The number is 1-877-826-0011.  
 
For more information, please visit the websites below.
·         Middle East Respiratory Syndrome:
http://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/mers/index.html
·         About Coronavirus:
http://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/about/index.html
·         Frequently Asked MERS Questions and Answers:
http://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/mers/faq.html
·         Indiana Department of Health
www.StateHealth.in.gov
 
For more information, visit the Indiana State Department of Health at www.StateHealth.IN.gov. Follow us on Twitter at @StateHealthIN and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/isdh1.
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