- ISIL creates all-female brigade to terrorize women into following Sharia law
- ISTOOK: Obama wants to be impeached
- Obama to Latin leaders: Help with border
- Military bans troops from Baptist church event honoring ‘God’s Rescue Squad’
- ‘Pocket drones’: U.S. Army developing tiny surveillance tools for the next big war
- Belgian cafe posts sign: Dogs allowed, but Jews stay out
- Gen. Dempsey: Pentagon studying Russian readiness plans not viewed ‘for 20 years’
- John McCain: Botched, two-hour execution of murderer is ‘torture’
- House GOP ready to move border bill
- Bomb squad called after live WWII artillery washes on Cape Cod beach
CDC confirms first case of MERS virus in American
Question of the Day
NEW YORK (AP) - Health officials on Friday confirmed the first case of an American infected with a mysterious virus that has sickened hundreds in the Middle East.
The man fell ill after flying to the U.S. late last week from Saudi Arabia where he was a health care worker.
He is hospitalized in good condition in northwest Indiana with Middle East respiratory syndrome, or MERS, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Indiana health officials, who are investigating the case.
The virus is not highly contagious and this case “represents a very low risk to the broader, general public,” Dr. Anne Schuchat told reporters during a CDC briefing.
The federal agency plans to track down passengers he may have been in close contact with during his travels; it was not clear how many may have been exposed to the virus.
So far, it is not known how he was infected, Schuchat said.
Saudi Arabia has been at the center of a Middle East outbreak of MERS that began two years ago. The virus has spread among health care workers, most notably at four facilities in that county last spring.
Officials didn’t provide details about the American’s job in Saudi Arabia or whether he treated MERS patients.
Overall, at least 400 people have had the respiratory illness, and more than 100 people have died. All had ties to the Middle East region or to people who traveled there.
Experts said it was just a matter of time before MERS showed up in the U.S., as it has in Europe and Asia.
“Given the interconnectedness of our world, there’s no such thing as ‘it stays over there and it can’t come here,’” said Dr. W. Ian Lipkin, a Columbia University MERS expert.
MERS belongs to the coronavirus family that includes the common cold and SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome, which caused some 800 deaths globally in 2003.
The MERS virus has been found in camels, but officials don’t know how it is spreading to humans. It can spread from person to person, but officials believe that happens only after close contact. Not all those exposed to the virus become ill.
But it appears to be unusually lethal - by some estimates, it has killed nearly a third of the people it sickened. That’s a far higher percentage than seasonal flu or other routine infections. But it is not as contagious as flu, measles or other diseases. There is no vaccine or cure and there’s specific treatment except to relieve symptoms.
Federal and state health officials on Friday released only limited information about the U.S. case: On April 24, the man flew from Riyadh - Saudi Arabia’s capital and largest city - to the United States, with a stop in London. He landed in Chicago and took a bus to nearby Indiana. He didn’t become sick until Sunday, the CDC said.
TWT Video Picks
By Steve King
- 'Pocket drones': U.S. Army developing tiny spies for the next big war
- U.S. evacuates embassy in Libya amid violent clashes between militias
- Rahm Emanuel: Send illegal immigrant shelter kids to Chicago
- 'We're coming for you, Barack Obama': Top U.S. official discloses threat from ISIL terrorists
- NAPOLITANO: What if our democracy is a fraud?
- ISTOOK: Obama wants to be impeached
- Obama: U.S. should 'embrace an economic patriotism that says we rise or fall together'
- Ted Nugent loses second casino gig for 'racist remarks'
- Ohio university quiz implies atheists are naturally smarter than Christians
- EDITORIAL: Obama's 'economic patriotism' means higher taxes
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq