MERS victim improves, local health officials keep watch
The first patient diagnosed with Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in the United States is in good condition and should be home soon, according to health officials who spoke during a news conference on Monday morning.
"...he has been improving everyday as was mentioned, he no longer has any oxygen requirements, he's in good spirits, he's eating well, and we have started the discharge planning process at this point," said Alan Kumar, Chief Medical Information Officer, Community Hospital."
So far there are no signs that the illness has spread. Indiana State Department of Health Commissioner William VanNess II said Monday that no health workers or family members who have had contact with the patient have tested positive for the virus.
Medical Director for Grand Traverse, Leelanau and Benzie County Health Departments, Dr. Michael Collins says the virus doesn't spread easily and requires close contact to someone that is infected. Collins also cautioned that there is still a lot to be discovered about the virus, and whether or not it has the potential to advance in any way.
"The big worry is what if this virus someday mutated and became something that is of similar severity but is more able to transmit easily," said Collins. "And if that happens it will be a big problem."
Collins says the very old, very young, and people with other underlying health problems are at the highest risk for catching MERS.
He says doctors have been instructed to issue state wide tests on patients who have traveled to the Middle East and complain of respiratory problems.