MERS Virus: First U.S. Patient Recovering

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The first U.S. patient to test positive for the MERS virus is now recovering and will be released from the hospital soon. MERS or Middle East Respiratory Syndrome is often deadly, and many people fear that an outbreak in the United States could mean serious trouble.

Doctors at the hospital where the patient is being treated say that not only is the patient recovering, but healthcare workers and others who have been exposed to the patient have tested negative for MERS.

"Every person who had contact with the index (infected) patient has been tested, and they all have tested negative," Dr Alan Kumar, chief medical information officer of Community Hospital in Munster, where the patient is being treated, said in a statement.

The confirmation of the disease in the United States has caused the The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to become concerned that MERS could spread across the globe. There is no know cure for MERS. The U.S. citizen who was infected is a healthcare worker in Saudi Arabia and came back to the United States to visit family members in Indiana.

The family members, friends and healthcare workers who cared for the infected patient will be tested again in 14 days to determine if they are still negative or have become infected. The CDC is working to track down anyone who may have come in contact with the patient so they can be tested for MERS as well.

"We're being very vigilant to follow these contacts and continue to do testing on them," said Dr Daniel Feikin, a medical epidemiologist from the CDC.

Doctors are also taking advantage of the situation as a way to get a close look at the virus and how it works. What they learn could allow for better treatments and a possible cure in the future.

Image via Wikimedia Commons

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