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City Health Department on Alert for MERS Virus

Brian Kelly (@brpkelly)
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Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

CBS St. Louis (con't)

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Health News & Information: CBSStL.com/Health

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - It’s not time to panic, but we need to be prepared. That’s what St. Louis City Health Director Pam Walker is saying as she puts the city’s health system on alert for MERS.

With the latest MERS case involving an Illinois man, Walker says she wants to make sure if a case pops up here health officials can respond quickly to contain it.

She says the department is reaching out to hospitals and emergency responders.

“We’re making sure we have 24/7 contact information, should a case appear anywhere, that infection control practices are in place, that we can activate our 24/7 surveillance system immediately,” Walker says.

Walker says they’re learning from the SARS outbreak in Canada to be ready before the virus arrives.

If a case is detected here, the first step would be to test anyone who had contact with the patient.

“Anyone who has signs and symptoms would either need to be isolated in a hospital or treatment facility, or we would issue a quarantine to quarantine them at home,” Walker says.

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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