US has first case of Middle East respiratory virus

Posted at 05/03/14 4:21 AM

WASHINGTON - American health authorities announced Friday the first US case of a dangerous respiratory virus that is believed to have originated from camels in the Middle East.
The first US case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infection was detected in a health care provider who had recently traveled to Saudi Arabia, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.
"While centered in the Arabian peninsula, MERS is now in our heartland," said Anne Schuchat, director of CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.
The patient is being cared for in an Indiana hospital and is "isolated in stable condition," she told reporters.
It was on April 27, after traveling to Saudi Arabia, London and Chicago, that the patient began to experience shortness of breath, coughing and fever.
Officials declined to confirm how the patient became infected, or how many people came in contact with the patient, whose gender was not disclosed.
According to official tallies, 401 people in 12 countries have been confirmed to have MERS-CoV, and 93 have died.
Schuchat said there was a low risk of MERS spreading to the general public, but added that the situation was considered "fluid."
She said the CDC is not recommending that people change their travel plans.
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