CDC Confirms First Case of MERS Virus In U.S.
Associated Press | May 2, 2014
Health officials on Friday confirmed the first case of an American infected with a mysterious virus that has sickened hundreds in the Middle East.
The man fell ill after flying to the U.S. late last week from Saudi Arabia where he was a health care worker.
He is hospitalized in good condition in northwest Indiana with Middle East respiratory syndrome, or MERS, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Indiana health officials, who are investigating the case.
The virus is not highly contagious and this case "represents a very low risk to the broader, general public," Dr. Anne Schuchat told reporters during a CDC briefing.
The federal agency plans to track down passengers he may have been in close contact with during his travels; it was not clear how many may have been exposed to the virus.
So far, it is not known how he was infected, Schuchat said.
Saudi Arabia has been at the center of a Middle East outbreak of MERS that began two years ago. The virus has spread among health care workers, most notably at four facilities in that county last spring.
Officials didn't provide details about the American's job in Saudi Arabia or whether he treated MERS patients.
Overall, at least 400 people have had the respiratory illness, and more than 100 people have died. All had ties to the Middle East region or to people who traveled there.