Editorial: Prevention is better than cure

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Thursday, September 4, 2014


THE Department of Health (DOH) central office is tracking down 249 passengers of Saudi Airlines flight SV870, and 143 passengers of Cebu Pacific flight SJ997, the August 31 flight of the nurse who tested positive for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome-Corona Virus (Mers-Cov).

The passengers are currently being contacted by DOH to urge them to get tested.

The health department already has the names and addresses of those in the Saudi Airlines flight and only the names of those who took Cebu Pacific flight.

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Health secretary Enrique Ona encouraged all passengers to undergo the necessary examinations.

As of July 23, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported 837 laboratory-confirmed cases of infections, 291 of which resulted in death, worldwide.

Saudi Arabia has recorded three deaths among previously reported MERS-CoV cases.

Last Tuesday (September 5) evening, a Filipina intensive care unit (ICU) nurse, who has returned to the country from Saudi Arabia and tested positive for Mers-CoV has been confined at Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) in Davao Coty for quarantine.

As of yesterday, SPMC chief of clinics Dr. Ricardo Audan said the nurse's condition is "improving".

The WHO said "people with diabetes, renal failure, chronic lung disease, and immuno-compromised persons are considered to be at high risk of severe disease from MERS-CoV infection."

The DOH said the public should not panic since Mers-CoV can only be transmitted to anyone whom the positive person had close contact with. The DOH listed the MERS-CoV preventive measures:

-Wash hands often with soap and water.
-Cover the nose and mouth with tissue paper when coughing or sneezing.
-Avoid touching face, especially the eye area, nose and mouth, with unwashed hands.
-Avoid close contact with sick people.
-Regularly clean frequently touched surfaces (doors, knobs, handles).
The DOH also advised adults to make sure children follow the same precautions.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on September 05, 2014.

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