No new cases of MERS reported in Indiana - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

No new cases of MERS reported in Indiana

No new cases of MERS reported in Indiana

Updated:
INDIANAPOLIS - Health officials say no new cases of a deadly respiratory virus that has surfaced in Indiana have been reported since the initial case reported in Munster, Indiana last week.

Speaking at a news conference Monday morning at Community Hospital in Munster, health officials say the patient, who is a health care worker who had recently traveled to Saudi Arabia, is improving. The patient no longer needs oxygen and is eating well, and the hospital has begun the discharging process. 

Health officials say MERS has an incubation period of 2-14 days, and that close contact is required in order for the virus to be transmitted to another person. They say as soon as MERS was confirmed, they immediately isolated all the health care workers who had come into contact with the patient. Those workers are doing well and have all tested negative for the illness.

"We were available to capitalize on the DNA sequence and made these enzymes and begin testing them in the lab right away," said Dr. Andrew Mesecar, Purdue University Professor.

Gov. Mike Pence says he's "relieved and thankful" that the patient is improving. He also praised the collaboration between local, state and federal health agencies. Pence says health officials will "continue to exercise caution" and "remain vigilant" to stop any potential spread of the illness.

Health experts say there has been an association with camels and it's thought they are the ones to carry the virus and those in close contact with camels become infected, which is why the disease is localized on the Arabian Peninsula.

Health officials have also learned this is a corona virus, something found in the common cold with symptoms of congestion, cough, high fever, pneumonia, body aches and diarrhea. But a quick fix for MERS is still a long way off. 
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