Philippines gets 2nd MERS-CoV case

THE Department of Health (DOH) reported Monday the country’s second case of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome – Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) after a foreigner with travel history in the Middle East tested positive for the disease.

In a press conference, DOH Secretary Janette Garin said the foreigner, who was suffering from cough and flu, contracted MERS-CoV based on the test conducted by the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) on Saturday.

Garin said the patient is already confined in isolation at the RITM and is currently “stable and very cooperative."

“We found out that there is a low viral load in the patient. This means that there is not much MERS-CoV in his body and there is big possibility that he will immediately get well,” said Garin.

Garin said they have also put in isolation at the RITM the Filipina companion of the foreigner after she also developed cough. Her test result is expected to be released immediately.

Seven other close contacts of the foreigner have also been put in home quarantine until the 14-day incubation period, which is from July 2, lapses.

“To be fair, the patient did not go out anymore after he began having symptoms,” said DOH spokesman Dr. Lyndon Lee Suy.

The DOH activated Task Force MERS-CoV to conduct contact tracing of around 200 people, who were with the foreigner in the flight bound for Manila.

Lee Suy said they still opted to conduct contact tracing even as the 14-day incubation period ends on Thursday.

The 36-year-old patient came from Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE) late last month, including a stopover at the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA).

Lee Suy said the patient began experiencing MERS-CoV symptoms last July 2 but was referred and tested at the RITM only last Saturday.

Garin appealed to the public to maintain sobriety amid the recording of the second MERS-CoV case in the country.

“There is no reason to panic,” said Garin, adding that there is no documented community transmission of the virus.

The health department also reiterated its appeal to all those that have returned from the Middle East to report to the nearest hospital once they experience symptoms of the disease, such as flu, fever, cough and cold.

They were urged to honestly fill-up the health declaration checklist upon their arrival in all points of entry in the Philippines.

Garin said it is also important for everyone to always practice proper hygiene, have adequate rest, and maintain a balanced diet in order to develop good resistance from communicable diseases.

Last February, a Filipina nurse from Saudi Arabia tested positive for the disease and received treatment at RITM. (HDT/Sunnex)
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