Be on your P's and Q's America as a new and deadly virus has made it's way to U.S. soil. The virus is known as Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome or (MERS) and it birthed in Saudi Arabia. The disease has infected nearly thousands and kiiled roughly over 100 people so far across the pond. There's no cure for the virus at this moment.
The first case has been reported here in the U.S. and the patient is currently at Munster Hospital in Indiana where he's being treated. The man flew from the Middle East to London, then from there to O'Hare Airport here in Chicago. The he boarded a bus to Indiana where he saught treatment for his condition. See the story below.
May 2, 2014 (CHICAGO) (WLS) -- A mysterious illness that has sickened hundreds in the Middle East has made its way to the Chicago area.
This is the first case of MERS in the United States. An American who flew into O'Hare airport last week is now hospitalized at Community Hospital in Munster, Ind.
"We want people to know this is a rare but very serious, very dangerous respiratory infection, number one. We want people to know that we are tracking it," said Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck, director, Illinois Department of Public Health.
It's called Middle East respiratory syndrome, or MERS, a relatively-new virus originating in the Arabian peninsula, which is where the male healthcare worker apparently became infected.
On Thursday of last week, the Indiana man flew from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia to London, and then London to O'Hare on an American Airlines flight before boarding a bus at the airport to a Highland, Ind., bus depot.
"I'm not paranoid about germs or anything, but you start reading about stuff like this, and you get a little nervous," said David Wetherelt, bus passenger.
Federal health officials say the patient developed symptoms last Sunday, including fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. On Monday, he was admitted to Community Hospital in Munster and put in isolation.
"Actually, he's only requiring a little supplemental oxygen, not ventilated at all, so we understand he's stable," said Dr. Hasbrouck.
MERS has killed about a hundred people, or one-third of patients diagnosed, but officials say that alarmingly high death rate may in fact be lower.
"There's probably people out there who don't have symptoms or who aren't sick enough to go to the hospital who have MERS and never get diagnosed. And so that mortality rate is probably inflated," said Dr. Jessica Ridgeway, University of Chicago Medicine.
No other U.S. cases have been reported, but federal health officials are now contacting the patient's fellow plane and bus passengers.
"If you had a flight during that time, you were walking through O'Hare, chances are pretty negligible that you would have any risk, any risk whatsoever," said Dr. Hasbrouck.