The first human to human case of MERS in the United States was confirmed this week in Illinois.
A U.S. citizen who came in contact with an infected Saudi man earlier this month has tested positive for the MERS virus and is currently under observation in Illinois.
Health officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) contacted the Illinois resident earlier this month after learning that he had met with a man from Saudi Arabia on two occasions prior to that man being hospitalized in Indiana.
Despite the fact that Saudi Arabia is the known source of this disease, the Obama Administration is refusing to suspend air travel from the infected areas, all but ensuring the disease will become a global epidemic.
“The president has been briefed on this development,” White House spokesman Carney told reporters. “The CDC is taking the current situation very seriously and is working in close coordination with local health authorities.” Carney said.
Saudi Healthcare Workers will likely make this a Global Epidemic
Saudi officials have recently stepped up efforts to recruit foreign doctors for high paying jobs in Saudi Arabia, where MERS was first identified in 2012. About 15 percent of physicians working in Saudi Arabia are American or European doctors.
Because of the influx of doctors and healthcare providers into the area, world health officials say there is a good chance the MERS virus will hitch a ride on workers as they return home.
“This is how MERS might spread around the world,” said infectious disease expert Dr. Amesh Adalja of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
Both of the initial U.S. MERS infections were carried into the country by healthcare workers who fell ill shortly after leaving their work in Saudi hospitals. This could have been prevented; unfortunately our government seems more concerned with offending the Saudi government than they do saving American lives.
Almost one-third of the MERS cases in Saudi Arabia is being seen in Healthcare workers, so why we would allow anyone from the infected countries into the U.S. – especially those working directly with infected patients – is insane. What’s even crazier is not only are they refusing to stop air travel from the infected countries, but the government has also refused to even mandate returning physicians be screened for the disease.