Illinois Department of Public Health Director Reassures Illinoisans of Vigilance for MERS-CoV

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No spread of MERS-CoV from first U.S. case, but second U.S. case identified

CHICAGO, IL – Although there is no transmission of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) related to the first U.S. case who traveled from Saudi Arabia to Indiana on April 24, 2014, Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) Director LaMar Hasbrouck is reassuring Illinois residents that IDPH, local health departments and health care providers remain vigilant for any new cases of MERS-CoV.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) yesterday announced the second confirmed MERS-CoV case in the U.S. in a person who traveled from Saudi Arabia and ultimately to Florida on May 1, 2014. Similar to the first case, the patient is isolated in a hospital, health officials are following up with close contacts[1] to the patient, and out of an abundance of caution, health officials are notifying people who traveled on flights with the patient.

“While this second confirmed case of MERS-CoV is unwelcome, it is not unexpected and we anticipate seeing additional cases imported to the U.S.,” said Dr. Hasbrouck. “We will continue to watch for additional cases of MERS-CoV and are at-the-ready to conduct laboratory testing should it be needed. I want to reassure Illinoisans that the risk to the general public remains extremely low as MERS-CoV has not been found to spread easily from person to person in community settings.”

On May 9, Health officials verified that the first patient has since tested negative for MERS-CoV, was no longer symptomatic, posed no threat to the community, was considered fully recovered and was discharged from the hospital.

For more information about both MERS-CoV cases in the U.S., and general MERS-CoV information, visit www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/mers/index.html

IDPH continues to implement its Five Year Strategy 2014-2018 to maximize IDPH’s effectiveness, influence and value for promoting wellness, health equity, safety and improved health outcomes. Strategic plan priorities include developing and expanding partnerships; improving data utilization; reducing health disparities; improving regulatory compliance; and branding, marketing and communicating IDPH’s value.

http://www.idph.state.il.us/about/StrategicPlan_Final_2014-2018.pdf


[1]Close contact is defined as a) any person who provided care for the patient, including a healthcare worker or family member, or had similarly close physical contact; or b) any person who stayed at the same place (e.g. lived with, visited) as the patient while the patient was ill.

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