Multiple tests conducted at different times by the Indiana State
Laboratory and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
were negative for the presence of ongoing Middle East Respiratory
Syndrome (MERS) infection in the patient, according to a statement
from the Indiana State Department of Health.
"The patient has tested negative for MERS, is no longer symptomatic
and poses no threat to the community," said Dr. Alan Kumar, chief
medical information officer for Community Hospital in Munster. No
additional cases have been found.
The CDC confirmed last week that it had identified the first MERS
case in the country, raising new concerns about the global spread of
an illness with a high fatality rate and no known treatment.
The patient is a healthcare worker employed in Saudi Arabia, where
the virus was first detected in 2012, who had come to Indiana to
Saudi officials said on Friday that the number of infections in the
country has reached 473. The death toll from the virus is 133 since
it was identified two years ago, according to the kingdom's health
Indiana hospital staff who had direct contact with the patient
continue to remain off-duty and in temporary home isolation and are
being monitored for symptoms, the state health department said. They
will be allowed to return to work following the incubation period
and confirmed negative test results.
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Scientists are not yet sure how the MERS virus is transmitted to
people, but it has been found in bats and camels, and many experts
say camels are the most likely animal reservoir from which humans
(Reporting by Mary Wisniewski; Editing by Ken Wills)
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