Mysterious Middle East virus arrives in U.S.

By: Matt McGovern Email
By: Matt McGovern Email
Health officials say a deadly virus from the Middle East has turned up for the first time in the U.S., with the infected person entering the country through Chicago.

A foreign worker living in Riyadh wears a mask covering his mouth and nose on a main street in the Saudi capital.

DALLAS, TX (KXAS) - Health officials say a deadly virus from the Middle East has turned up for the first time in the U.S., with the infected person entering the country through Chicago.

An American who works as health care worker in Saudi Arabia is hospitalized in Indiana with the MERS virus.

The patient "traveled by plane from Saudi Arabia to London, then from London to Chicago,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, NBC News reported.

"The patient then took a bus from Chicago to Indiana. On the 27th, the patient began to experience signs of illness, including shortness of breath and coughing. The patient went to an emergency department on April 28. Because of the patient’s symptoms and travel history, Indiana public health officials had him tested for MERS," the CDC said.

Middle East respiratory syndrome, or MERS, first surfaced two years ago. Since then, at least 400 cases of the respiratory illness have been reported, and more than 100 people have died.

Saudi Arabia has been the center of the outbreak. All the victims have had ties to the Middle East or to someone who traveled there.

The virus has been found in camels, but officials don't know how it is spreading to humans.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating the U.S. case to track down anyone he had close contact with recently.


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