USA as pathogenic bomb – MERS IN USA – first case

A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases

[1] CDC Press Release
Date: Fri 2 May 2014
Source: CDC Press Release [edited]

CDC announces 1st case of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus
infection (MERS) in the United States
MERS case in traveler from Saudi Arabia hospitalized in Indiana
Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) was confirmed
today [2 May 2014] in a traveler to the United States. This virus is
relatively new to humans and was 1st reported in Saudi Arabia in

“We’ve anticipated MERS reaching the US, and we’ve prepared for and
are taking swift action,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H.
“We’re doing everything possible with hospital, local, and state
health officials to find people who may have had contact with this
person so they can be evaluated as appropriate. This case reminds us
that we are all connected by the air we breathe, the food we eat, and
the water we drink. We can break the chain of transmission in this
case through focused efforts here and abroad.”

On [24 Apr 2014], the patient traveled by plane from Riyadh, Saudi
Arabia to London, England then from London to Chicago, Illinois. The
patient then took a bus from Chicago to Indiana. On [27 Apr 2014], the
patient began to experience respiratory symptoms, including shortness
of breath, coughing, and fever. The patient went to an emergency
department in an Indiana hospital on [28 Apr 2014] and was admitted on
that same day. The patient is being well cared for and is isolated;
the patient is currently in stable condition. Because of the patient’s
symptoms and travel history, Indiana public health officials tested
for MERS-CoV. The Indiana state public health laboratory and CDC
confirmed MERS-CoV infection in the patient this afternoon [2 May

“It is understandable that some may be concerned about this situation,
but this 1st U.S. case of MERS-CoV infection represents a very low
risk to the general public,” said Dr. Anne Schuchat, assistant surgeon
general and director of CDC’s National Center for Immunizations and
Respiratory Diseases. In some countries, the virus has spread from
person to person through close contact, such as caring for or living
with an infected person. However, there is currently no evidence of
sustained spread of MERS-CoV in community settings.

CDC and Indiana health officials are not yet sure how the patient
became infected with the virus. Exposure may have occurred in Saudi
Arabia, where outbreaks of MERS-CoV infection are occurring. Officials
also do not know exactly how many people have had close contact with
the patient.

So far, including this U.S. importation, there have been 401 confirmed
cases of MERS-CoV infection in 12 countries. To date [2 May 2014], all
reported cases have originated in 6 countries in the Arabian
Peninsula. Most of these people developed severe acute respiratory
illness, with fever, cough, and shortness of breath; 93 people died.
Officials do not know where the virus came from or exactly how it
spreads. There is no available vaccine or specific treatment
recommended for the virus.

“In this interconnected world we live in, we expected MERS-CoV to make
its way to the United States,” said Dr. Tom Frieden, Director, Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention. “We have been preparing since 2012
for this possibility.”

Federal, state, and local health officials are taking action to
minimize the risk of spread of the virus. The Indiana hospital is
using full precautions to avoid exposure within the hospital and among
healthcare professionals and other people interacting with the
patient, as recommended by CDC.

In July 2013, CDC posted checklists and resource lists for healthcare
facilities and providers to assist with preparing to implement
infection control precautions for MERS-CoV.

As part of the prevention and control measures, officials are reaching
out to close contacts to provide guidance about monitoring their

While experts do not yet know exactly how this virus is spread, CDC
advises Americans to help protect themselves from respiratory
illnesses by washing hands often, avoiding close contact with people
who are sick, avoid touching their eyes, nose and/or mouth with
unwashed hands, and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces.

The largest reported outbreak to date occurred April through May 2013
in eastern Saudi Arabia and involved 23 confirmed cases in 4
healthcare facilities. At this time, CDC does not recommend anyone
change their travel plans. The World Health Organization also has not
issued Travel Health Warnings for any country related to MERS-CoV.
Anyone who develops fever and cough or shortness of breath within 14
days after traveling from countries in or near the Arabian Peninsula
should see their doctor and let him or her know where they travelled.

For more information about MERS Co-V, please visit:
Middle East Respiratory Syndrome:

About Coronavirus:

Frequently Asked MERS Questions and Answers:

Indiana Department of Health:

Communicated by:

[2] Media report
Date: Fri 2 May 2014
Source: CNN [edited]


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