DOH: Pinay nurse with Mers-Cov in stable condition

MANILA -- The 32-year-old Filipina nurse who has been confirmed positive for the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome-Corona Virus (Mers-Cov) remains in stable condition, the Health Department said on Sunday.

Department of Health (DOH) secretary Dr. Janette Garin said they are conducting continuous monitoring on the nurse who was also found to be one-month pregnant during the testing at the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) in Alabang, Muntinlupa City.

“She is stable... She is undergoing a very difficult time and a bit emotional with the reactions from her community," Dr. Garin said, referring to the panic that earlier gripped the residents in her neighborhood in Pacita, San Pedro City, Laguna.

The nurse, who arrived from Saudi Arabia on Feb. 1, has tested positive for MERS-CoV, a respiratory disease that has infected and killed hundreds, mostly in Saudi Arabia.

She was first admitted to the Evangelista Medical Specialty Center in San Pedro on February 2 after complaining of fever, cough and breathing difficulty. She was later transferred to the RITM after her condition did not improve. Further tests confirmed that she has MERS-CoV.

A female health worker, who had close contact with the Filipina nurse at the hospital in San Pedro, is also under observation at the RITM.

“They shall remain under home quarantine until February 24 in order for us to make sure that they are all safe,” the health official said.

Garin said the panic reaction came about after some tricycle drivers in the community began wearing masks for fear of being infected with the disease following the nurse's hospitalization at a hospital in San Pedro City.

Some parents also refused to send their children to a school in the community.

An information campaign through village and community assemblies was undertaken in close coordination with the Department of Education (DepEd), the DOH, the City Health Office and other concerned groups.

The owner of the hospital also initiated disinfection of the medical facility for a period of 14 days just to allay fears on the spread of the dreadful virus.

The health personnel of the hospital also agreed to undergo testing for MERS-CoV since they were presumed to have close contact with the patient during the initial consultations prior to nurse’s referral to the RITM.

Meanwhile, 30 co-passengers of the nurse in the Saudia Flight 860 that arrived in the country last February 1 tested negative for the virus.

Garin said that the individuals can be allowed to go back to their families and homes because they have not manifested symptoms of Mers-CoV. (PNA/Sunnex)

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