15 more new cases have been detected in Saudi Arabia of the deadly MERS virus on Sunday. The US also saw its first case, a health worker who had worked in Saudi Arabia. The good news is that the patient is recuperating well at an Indiana hospital.
There has been a steep rise in the number of MERS cases and health officials fear a repeat of the SARS epidemic which is caused by a virus bearing close resemblance to MERS virus. The hospitals around the globe are on a high alert. Five new cases were reported on Sunday and are being treated at a government hospital in Riyadh.
The first US case is also being quarantined and health workers are enforcing special precautions to prevent the spread of the virus from the patient.
Don Fesko, CEO of Community Hospital in Munster, Indiana said, “The patient is in full isolation and presents no risk to patients, staff or the general community. We are thoroughly prepared to handle respiratory infections. We continue to work closely with the CDC and State Health Department and are following every recommendation. Safety is our top priority.”
MERS is the acronym for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome and was first detected in 2012. Most of the cases were restricted to the Middle East and therefore the name MERS. However it is now being reported in more than a dozen countries around the globe. Some of the patients suffering from MERS had additional chronic ailments like cancer diabetes or renal failure. The virus has already killed more than 100 people and it is possible that some of the deaths could have been caused by the complications associated with other chronic ailments. However new cases are appearing of patients who are healthy and never suffered from any serious ailment.
MERS is also not as virulent as SARS but CDC expert6s are not lowering their vigil and are tracking down people who have been in contact with the Indiana patient.
Indiana State Health Commissioner Dr. William VanNess stated, “We are very pleased the patient is improving and no other cases have been identified at this time. The swift diagnosis and precautionary measures taken have undoubtedly greatly helped reduce the risk of this potentially serious virus spreading.”