First American MERS patient ‘fully recovered’

The man flew from Saudi Arabia to Chicago on April 24 and was diagnosed with MERS coronavirus shortly after

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The first American diagnosed with a mysterious virus from the Middle East has been released from an Indiana hospital and is considered fully recovered, the hospital said Friday, according to The Associated Press.

Community Hospital chief medical information officer Dr. Alan Kumar said the patient now tests negative for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, or MERS, and “poses no threat to the community.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the patient is an American man. He flew from Saudi Arabia to Chicago on April 24 and took a bus to Indiana. He sought treatment last Monday and was diagnosed with MERS.

The virus has been most deadly in Saudi Arabia, where the number of fatalities on Friday reached 126 since MERS first appeared in the kingdom in 2012.

On Saturday, Saudi Arabia announced 13 more deaths from the MERS coronavirus.

Two men, aged 47 and 60, died in Madinah on Wednesday, an 84-year-old man died in Makkah and a fourth died in Jeddah. The fifth person to die was a woman, who succumbed in the capital Riyadh, the Saudi health ministry’s website reported.

It added that the total number of infections in Saudi Arabia was now 463.

MERS belongs to the coronavirus family that also includes the common cold and SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome.

No additional cases of MERS have been identified in the U.S. While the virus is not as contagious as flu, measles or other diseases, there is no vaccine or cure.

It appears to be unusually lethal - by some estimates, it has killed nearly a third of the people it sickened. That's a far higher percentage than seasonal flu or other routine infections.

(With AP)