MANILA -- One of the 11 individuals who had close contact with the Filipina nurse afflicted with Middle East Respiratory Syndrome – Coronavirus (Mers-CoV) may have been infected, the Department of Health (DOH) said Sunday.
The female health worker of the Evangelista Medical Specialty Hospital in San Pedro, Laguna will remain at the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) in Muntinlupa City until further tests show otherwise, Acting Health Secretary Janette Garin said in a press conference.
“Minarapat ng ating mga eksperto na huwag muna i-discharge ang isang pasyente dahil sa kanyang X-ray results, making her a probable case,” said Garin.
The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines a probable case as a person under investigation "with absent or inconclusive laboratory results for Mers-CoV infection who is a close contact of a laboratory-confirmed Mers-CoV case."
As for the other 10, including the husband of the nurse, the DOH said they have already been discharged from the RITM after testing negative in the second round of laboratory tests.
“They shall remain under home quarantine until February 24 in order for us to make sure that they are all safe,” said Garin.
There were a total of 56 close contacts that have earlier been tested negative by the RITM, composed of health workers from the Evangelista Medical Specialty Hospital and relatives of the nurse.
Two of 220 co-passengers of the Filipina nurse in Saudia Flight 860 which arrived on February 1 have been put in isolation in separate undisclosed hospitals after they both manifested symptoms of the disease such as cough, fever and shortness of breath.
She added 126 passengers have already been contacted and tested, 86 of whom tested negative for the deadly virus.
“We have put in isolation two of the passengers currently being closely observed. One is considered a 'patient under investigation' and another one is considered a 'Mers-CoV suspect case',” said Garin.
Garin said that an individual can be considered as a “patient under investigation” if he/she manifests symptoms of the disease and has had travel history in the Middle East or has had contact with a person confirmed with Mers-CoV.
On the other hand, a Mers-CoV suspect has the symptoms of the disease, has had travel history in the Middle East or has had contact with a person with Mers-CoV, backed by clinical findings such as manifestation of “breathing sounds”.
Sunday would be the last day for contact tracing of the co-passengers given the 14-day incubation period of the virus.
“If they manifest similar symptoms after today (Sunday), definitely it will not be Mers-CoV since there is only a 14-day incubation period for it,” said Garin. (HDT/Sunnex)