CDC Reports First U.S. Case of Deadly MERS Virus

On May 2, 2014, AlertsUSA issued the following
related flash message to subscriber mobile devices:

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CDC reports 1st case of deadly Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in US. The male fell ill in Indiana after travel from Saudi Arabia. ..

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Late this week AlertsUSA Customers were notified via text messages to their mobile devices that the Centers for Disease Control confirmed the first case of an American infected with a mysterious and deadly Middle East virus. The male patient fell ill after returning to the U.S. from Saudi Arabia via airline flights through London and Chicago.

The infected individual is being treated at Community Hospital in Munster, Indiana. State and federal public health officials are working together to alert those who may have been exposed to the patient. British health authorities are publicly warning anyone who was on the same flight to be on the lookout for symptoms.

As previously reported by AlertsUSA Threat Journal on multiple occasions over the past year, the U.S. government has declared that the MERS virus is both deadly and contagious enough to potentially “affect national security,” as well as the health and security of United States citizens living abroad.”

Described by the Director of the World Health Organization as the single biggest worldwide public health threat, MERS-Cov poses the threat of a pandemic more deadly than SARS, particularly in light of the fact that most reported cases are currently found in Saudi Arabia, home to the annual Hajj pilgrimage. To demonstrate this danger, consider that while originally identified in Saudi Arabia, airline travel has enabled the spread of the virus to such locations as Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, United Kingdom, Tunisia, Malaysia and the Philippines.

While the main Hajj season is in the first week of October this year, many Muslims also make “Umrah”, known as the “lesser pilgrimage”, at other times.

The MERS virus is a close genetic cousin of SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome). In 2003 more than 8,000 people in 30 countries contracted SARS, killing 774. This number is likely much higher due to inaccurate diagnosis.

Based on current information, AlertsUSA assesses the threat of further domestic spreading of the virus as minimal, though highly notable.

You can learn more about the MERS virus by visiting the links below:

WHO MERS-CoV Website

CDC MERS-CoV Website

AlertsUSA continues to closely monitor this situation and will immediately notify service subscribers of reports of additional domestic MERS-CoV infections as events warrant.