First U.S. Case of MERS Virus Discovered In Indiana

Published 05/02 2014 10:17PM

Updated 05/03 2014 12:08AM

Officials confirm a case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, also known as MERS-CoV, in northwestern Indiana. It's a deadly virus and this is the first time it's been confirmed in the U.S.

Officials say a patient traveled from Saudi Arabia to London, and then from London to Chicago. That person then took a bus from Chicago to Indiana, where they began to experience symptoms.

The patient is being cared for at Community Hospital in Munster. The hospital says the patient is in good condition and is isolated. Officials also say the patient had minimal exposure with the community prior to being hospitalized.

MERS-CoV is a respiratory virus that was first reported in Saudi Arabia back in 2012. Symptoms are similar to influenza and include congestion, coughing, fever over 100.4, shortness of breath, pneumonia, diarrhea and body aches.

Officials say if you have any of those symptoms, follow these tips to avoid spreading the virus to other people:

- 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 other 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.

Indiana Governor Mike Pence says his office has deployed full resources to the Indiana State Department of Health to help them track the case, assess the risk to the public and prevent the virus from spreading.

Copyright 2016 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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