Deadly MERS virus turns up in U.S.

(USA TODAY) A deadly virus from the Middle East that causes severe acute respiratory illness has turned up in Indiana in the first known case in the United States.

The virus — known as MERS, short for Middle East respiratory syndrome — first surfaced two years ago. Since then, at least 400 cases of the illness have been reported, mostly in Saudi Arabia, and more than 100 people have died.

The Centers for Disease Control planned a briefing Friday on the U.S. case, the Associated Press reports. The CDC and Indiana State Department of Health are jointly investigating the case, the AP says.

The U.S. case involves a man in Indiana who traveled to Saudi Arabia and returned to the United States through London Heathrow airport to Chicago's O'Hare airport and then to Indiana by bus, Fox News reports. The CDC says the patient is being well cared for, is currently isolated and is in stable condition.

The CDC says the virus has spread from ill people to others through close contact but has not shown to spread "in a sustained way in communities."

Since April 2012, countries with MERS-confirmed cases include France, Italy, Jordan, Kuwait, Malaysia, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, the United Kingdom and United Arab Emirates.

The CDC says the virus likely came from an animal source. In addition to humans, MERS-CoV has been found in camels in Qatar and a bat in Saudi Arabia.


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