MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 26, 2016

Lab tests negative for hospital employees with Indiana MERS contact

Preliminary laboratory test results for hospital employees in Indiana who came into contact with a newly identified MERS patient were negative.

"We are proud of the collaboration and cooperation among the CDC, the Indiana State Department of Health and Munster Community Hospital," Indiana Governor Mike Pence said. "Working together, they did an excellent job in protecting the public health. We commend all involved."

Additionally, test results for the patient's close family contacts were also found to be negative for MERS. Hospital staff who had direct contact with the patient will continue to remain off-duty and in temporary home isolation and are being closely monitored for symptoms as a precaution.

"Employee test results are all negative at this point, which is great news," Community Hospital Chief Medical Information Officer Alan Kumar. "We have contained the exposure at this point, and out of vigilance, we will continue to monitor the situation."

The MERS patient, a U.S. citizen living and working in Saudi Arabia, is reportedly recovering and is expected to be released from the hospital soon.

"Having the first case of MERS in the United States appear right here in Indiana is a scary situation and I understand the concerns felt by those who live and work in the Chicago and northwestern Indiana area," State Health Commissioner William VanNess II said. "I want to assure everyone that our state medical experts, CDC and Community Hospital in Munster have been working around the clock to contain the spread of this disease and protect Americans."