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MUNSTER | The patient who was being treated for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome at The Community Hospital was released Friday, health officials said. 

The man is considered to be fully recovered and has been cleared by health officials to come off of isolation and may travel, if necessary. This was the first confirmed MERS case in the United States. 

"The patient has tested negative for MERS, is no longer symptomatic and poses no threat to the community," said Dr. Alan Kumar, chief medical information officer for Community Hospital in Munster.

"Community Hospital finalized its discharge plan with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Indiana State Department of Health, and the patient was discharged from the hospital."

Hospital officials assured multiple tests done at different times by the Indiana State Laboratory and CDC were negative for the presence of ongoing MERS-CoV infection in the patient. No additional cases of MERS have been identified.

"The hospital and the State Health Department are taking every precaution as the patient is released," said Indiana State Health Commissioner Dr. William C. VanNess II.

"This case demonstrates that any infectious disease in the world is only a plane ride away. I encourage all of our health care providers to remain vigilant in looking for any future cases."

On April 24, the patient, whose identity was not released, traveled from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, to London and then to Chicago's O'Hare International Airport. He then traveled by bus to the Highland area. The CDC and state health departments said they have contacted the vast majority of passengers on the flights and the bus and none of them are symptomatic. There has been no evidence of community-level transmission of this virus, such as from casual contact.

Hospital staff who had direct contact with the patient continue to remain off-duty and in temporary home isolation and are being closely monitored for symptoms. These staff members will be allowed to return to work following the incubation period and confirmed negative laboratory results.

The Indiana State Department of Health said it has closed the MERS hotline, as calls have slowed down significantly.

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