Patient suffering from virus never-before reported in U.S. is improving

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The patient suffering from the country’s first identified case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) is reportedly improving in an Indiana hospital.

A spokesperson from the Indiana State Department of Health said the patient was diagnosed at an Indiana healthcare facility and is in good condition.

As of Sunday, May 4, 2014 no additional cases of MERS had been identified.

“The patient is in full isolation and presents no risk to patients, staff or the general community,” said Don Fesko, the hospital’s CEO.

Indiana health officials said before being placed in full isolation, any hospital employees who had direct contact with the patient have been taken off duty and were put in temporary home isolation. They were being monitored for symptoms and once the isolation period is over and employees have confirmed negative lab results, they may return to work.

“The swift diagnosis and precautionary measures taken have undoubtedly greatly helped reduce the risk of this potentially serious virus spreading,” said State Health Commissioner William VanNess II, M.D.

The health department has shared these tips to keep you and your family safe:

  • Wash hands with soap and water for 20 seconds, help young children to do this also
  • If soap is unavailable, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue away
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands
  • Avoid close contact, like kissing or sharing eating utensils, with sick people
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces like toys and doorknobs

If you have questions about the virus, a hotline has been set up and is answered daily from 8 a.m. – 4:40 p.m. Call 1-877-826-0011. A voicemail is available for callers after hours.