DOH: Mers-Cov patient confined at Davao hospital

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Wednesday, September 3, 2014


THE second case of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome–Coronavirus (Mers-Cov) in the country is now confined at the Southern Philippines Medical Center in Davao City, said the Department of Health (DOH).

In a press conference in Manila on Wednesday, Health Secretary Enrique Ona said a 37-year-old nurse identified only as "AP" is presently confined at the hospital along with her family, which was placed under close observation.

"Dinala na sila kahapon sa Southern Philippines Medical Center at pinadala na for testing ang throat swab and we should know result mamayang gabi. Positive na siya doon, we are just making confirmatory tests. Her family was also advised to be isolated," said Ona.

"AP", until now, has not shown any symptoms of the Mers-Cov, Ona said.

If tested positive, the patients will have to remain in the hospital until they are tested negative of the virus.

The DOH said "AP" is actually one of the two Filipina nurses that arrived from Dammam, Saudi Arabia on board Saudia Airlines Flight SV870 last Friday has been found positive of the virus based on the test results done to them in their workplace back in August 25.

"This particular patient in Saudi Arabia, hindi na hinintay ang result. Pagdating dito, dun nalaman ang test result sa Saudi na positive for Mers-Cov after the call from the nursing supervisor," said Ona.

As for the other Filipina nurse identified as "CB", Ona said she and her family have already been brought to the Lung Center of the Philippines (LCP) to undergo testing on Tuesday.

"Fortunately, this morning, lumabas ang results nung tests with the nurses and her family… eight of them are all negative," said Ona.

He explained that the family members of the 49-year-old "CB" were also tested after "AP" stayed in their house upon their arrival until she boarded a Cebu Pacific flight to go home to General Santos City last Sunday.

He related that "CB" as well as two family members suffered from fever and sore throat but were eventually found negative of the Mers-Cov.

The family of "CB" from San Jose del Monte, Bulacan, is already set for discharge from the LCP in Quezon City.

Despite already seeing two cases, Ona said that the country remains to be Mers-Cov free until now.

"The first two cases of Mers-Cov we found both came from other countries. We have yet to see any case coming from our country. So, we can still claim that the Philippines is Mers-Cov – free," said Ona.

Last April, a 45-year-old Filipino male nurse also came home to the Philippines from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and learned of being positive of the Mers-Cov also upon his return to the country despite also undergoing tests in his workplace.

Meanwhile, DOH spokesperson Dr. Lyndon Lee Suy said they are already tracing all the 249 passengers in the flight manifest of Flight SV870.

Similarly, he said they are also contacting all the 143 passengers of the Cebu Pacific Flight SJ997 that flew with "AP" to General Santos City.

"We are exerting all efforts to locate all passengers on board the Saudia Airlines, and the domestic flight to South Cotabato… We are not leaving any stones unturned to make sure the country remains free of the virus," said Ona.

Lee Suy similarly appealed to all the passengers of the two flights to coordinate with the DOH immediately and have themselves tested for Mers-Cov.

Passengers of the concerned flight may call DOH hotlines 651-7800 local 2206 to 2207; 0920-9498419; 0915-7725621; and 0922-8841564, or any hospitals nearest to them.

Mers-Cov is a fatal respiratory illness presenting influenza-like symptoms such as fever, cough, and diarrhea. (HDT/Sunnex)

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