CDC Confirms First U.S. Case of MERS

Posted on May 2, 2014

MERS negatively-stained TEM

The first U.S. case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS or MERS-CoV) has been confirmed in the U.S. The case has been confirmed by the CDC, which has a MERS site here. CNN reports that the man is a health-care provider who was in Riyadh to provide health care. He is receiving oxygen support at a hospital in Indiana, but he is not on a ventilator. He is stable condition.

Dr. Anne Schuchat, assistant surgeon general and director of CDC's National Center for Immunizations and Respiratory Diseases, says in a release, "It is understandable that some may be concerned about this situation, but this first U.S. case of MERS-CoV infection represents a very low risk to the general public."

Dr. Tom Frieden, Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, says, "In this interconnected world we live in, we expected MERS-CoV to make its way to the United States. We have been preparing since 2012 for this possibility."

The novel coronavirus was first discovered in the Middle East in 2012. There were not very many known cases the first year after its discovery. However, cases of MERS have been spiking over the past couple months in the Middle East. The latest count, according to Reuters, in Saudi Arabia is 371 cases and 107 deaths. There have also been cases in Egypt, Jordan, U.A.E., Qatar, Kuwait and Spain. Camels were recently confirmed as a source of the virus in a Columbia University study.

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Photo: Maureen Metcalfe; Azaibi Tamin/CDC