ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Local infectious diseases specialist Dr. Nirav Patel shares his thoughts following the first confirmed U.S. case of the often deadly Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in an Indiana man.
Patel says that if someone has the right symptoms, including fever and trouble breathing, and especially any exposure to the Middle East or contact with someone who has been there, that can be concerning.
“I think it shows that we have been vigilant and we need to continue to be vigilant,” Dr. Patel says.
But with the right testing, patients can be properly managed.
“It is unknown how many people actually get affected when they are exposed,” says Dr. Patel. “For us here in the U.S., it is still a fairly low risk.”
His advice? Practice good hand hygiene.
According to the CDC, MERS is a respiratory virus that was first reported in Saudi Arabia two years ago. Most people who have had the infection developed severe acute respiratory illness including fever, cough and shortness of breath.
MERS has killed a quarter of the 400 people it has infected in 12 countries.
The Indiana patient is doing well enough that he might be released.
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