Deadly MERS virus now in U.S., health officials say

First case has been reported in Indiana

Health officials indicate that Middle East Respiratory Syndrome has turned up in Indiana, and it’s the first report of the virus in the U.S.

No details about the case have been released. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it would soon be releasing more details.

The CDC is investigating along with Indiana health officials.

MERS is a viral respiratory illness first reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012. Most people who with a MERS infection developed severe acute respiratory illness, though some infected experienced only mild symptoms.

Symptoms may include fever, cough and shortness of breath.

In the past two years, at least 400 cases of the respiratory illness have been reported, and more than 100 people have died.

Saudi Arabia has been the center of the outbreak. All the victims have had ties to the Middle East or to someone who traveled there.

The virus has been found in camels, but officials don't know how it initially spread to humans. MERS, like SARS, is most similar to coronaviruses found in bats.

MERS has spread from ill people to others through close contact. However, the virus has not shown to spread in a sustained way in communities.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been working with partners to better understand the risks of this virus, including the source, how it spreads, and how infections might be prevented.

For more information about MERS, visit the CDC website.

Information from the Associated Press and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was used in this report.

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