MERS: Might be coming soon to a hospital near you

By  |  May 15, 2014 | 

The CDC has announced a second case of the MERS Coronavirus; the first case was discovered in Florida, the second in Indiana. Both were healthcare workers who had been working in Saudi Arabia. Overall to date, there have been >500 cases in 14 countries since 2012, with a 30% mortality rate. What this means for hospitalists is the following:

•  Suspect MERS in anyone with a clinical syndrome of acute respiratory illness, fever, cough, or shortness of breath, in those returning from travel within 14 days from in-around the Arabian Peninsula (or in close contact with a symptomatic traveler) http://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/mers/faq.html

•  Immediately place suspected patients  in contact and respiratory isolation (there has been person-to-person spread through close contact)

•  Immediately report any suspected cases to your local-state health department http://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/mers/interim-guidance.html

The CDC has also provided a Healthcare Facility Checklist to make sure your hospitals are prepared: http://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/mers/preparedness/checklist-facility-preparedness.html

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About the Author:

Danielle Scheurer
Dr. Scheurer is a clinical hospitalist and the Medical Director of Quality and Safety at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, South Carolina, and is Assistant Professor of Medicine. She is a graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Medicine, completed her residency at Duke University, and completed her Masters in Clinical Research at the Medical University of South Carolina. She also serves as the Web Editor and Physician Advisor for the Society of Hospital Medicine.

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