MERS-CoV Patient Doing Well, 3 Others Being Monitored

MANILA – The Department of Health said only one of the 11 persons with whom a Filipina nurse from Saudi Arabia had contact with after testing positive for the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome-Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) remains at the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine.

In a press conference on Sunday, acting Health Secretary Janette Garin said the patient is now considered a probable case. The 10 others have been discharged and were advised to undergo home quarantine until February 24.

Garin said the Filipina nurse also remains at the RITM and is “stable” and “recovering well.” She added there are also no signs that the baby in her womb may have been affected.

Fifty-six people were earlier identified to have had close contact with the Filipina nurse after being admitted at the Evangelista Medical Specialty Center in San Pedro, Laguna. Of the 56, only 11 were brought to the RITM.

Meanwhile, Garin said they have already contacted 126 passengers from the Saudi Airlines Flight 860, of which 86 have tested negative, while the others are still waiting for results.

Two of the passengers were put in isolation in separate hospitals that Garin did not divulge. One patient is considered a “patient under investigation” since he or she has exhibited symptoms, while the other is a “MERS-CoV” suspect since there were initial clinical findings he or she may have acquired the respiratory disease.

Garin said there is no need to bring them to RITM since the hospitals where they are currently confined in can manage them.

In total, health authorities are observing four people, she said.

According to Garin, today is also the last day of contact-tracing for the other passengers of the Saudi Arabia flight that arrived last February 1. MERS-CoV has 14 days incubation.

Garin reminded the public anew that there is no need to fear patients with MERS-CoV since the virus is not airborne.

Health officials already went to San Pedro, Laguna last week to allay the fears of residents.

“We saw their apprehension. We realized we can’t do it alone, there is a need for their participation. That’s why we called for a town hall meeting,” she said, adding that the Department of Education has also ordered schools not to suspend classes.


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