Indiana MERS patient's condition improving

The condition of the first reported U.S. MERS patient is said to be improving after several days in an Indiana hospital.

The first U.S. case of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus was reported in Indiana at the beginning of the month. The patient was moved into an isolated area of the hospital shortly after he returned from a trip to Saudi Arabia and went to the hospital complaining of flu-like symptoms and shortness of breath.

Though he traveled through London and Chicago before boarding a bus to Indiana there was little worry anyone would have contracted it from him as MERS isn't easily spread.

According to ABC News, the patient's condition has been steadily improving, with Munster, Indiana Community Hospital CEO Don Fresko saying "no other cases have been identified at this time."

As a precaution, the hospital sent about 50 healthcare workers home who have been around the patient. They were told to stay in their homes for the time being, where they will be monitored for symptoms. The Centers for Disease Control says none of the employees have so far tested positive.

With the worry of MERS, which is similar to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, spreading into the United States, several Congressional Democrats are calling for hearings to determine how worried the country should be, notes Businessweek.

Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) wrote in a letter to Republicans on the Energy and Commerce Committee, "This is the latest example of how, in our increasingly global community, infectious diseases can spread to the United States."

The disease, which originated in the Arabian Peninsula, has been ravaging Saudi Arabia, with the Associated Press reporting the latest death toll is now up to 115 after another three deaths. There have been a total of 414 confirmed cases of MERS, which presents initially with flu-like symptoms, but patients can then develop pneumonia or suffer kidney failure.

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