ONCE again, the country is on watch versus the deadly Middle East Respiratory Syndrome-Corona virus (MERS-CoV), the one that is haunting South Korea recently after an outbreak was reported in the said country.

It can be recalled that a Filipina nurse who worked in Saudi Arabia and came home in our country last February 1 was confirmed to have contracted the virus and was brought to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) in Muntinlupa City for treatment.

The said nurse, who was the first confirmed case of MERS-CoV infection in the country, was confined in the said medical facility with his husband on a separate isolation room as a precaution.

The said nurse has been given series of tests, which yielded results that she was indeed infected with the said virus.

The MERS-CoV is similarly deadlier like the SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) virus that carries symptoms similar to the common flu that include fever, cough, colds and sneezing. It is less transmissible though but still has the possibility to take the life of those who are infected with it.

It was first reported in 2012 in Saudi Arabia. 37 percent of the people who were confirmed to have caught the MERS-CoV have died.

Recently, there were reported cases of the MERS-CoV in South Korea where 15 people have already died and hundreds feared to have contracted the deadly virus.

The Philippine government has raised the alarm and warned Filipinos in South Korea to take practice extra precautionary measures and follow infection control protocols imposed by South Korean authorities.

It can be recalled that there are thousands of Filipinos working in South Korea with many of them remains undocumented to this date. Since these OFWs are not documented, the government is having a hard time in tracking them down. Should they acquire the deadly disease, it’s quite harder to monitor them more.

Despite the threat of the virus infection, the government is doing everything to prevent another infection in the country such as the proper and strict monitoring of people coming from Saudi Arabia and South Korea.

In airports, thermal scans are again in place for possible detection of probable infected people coming from countries with reported infection of the virus.

Meanwhile, local medical and health authorities are advising the public to likewise take precautionary measures with or without confirmed cases of infection. Avoiding crowded people or washing our hands regularly are simple steps to do to avoid infection.

The government on the other hand should intensify further its information and education campaign to the public since not all are well informed of these precautionary measures no matter how simple they are.

Virus infections are getting frequent these days. From a variety of strains and kinds of transmission or incubation, virus infections are somewhat like similar scenes from movies or TV series with post-apocalyptic themes.

No matter how deadly or not these viruses are, there can be no better way to avoid infection than to follow the simple steps campaigned for by the government. The washing of hands is a simply yet effective means of avoiding infections. It cost not much for anyone anyway.


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