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3 Pinoy nurses contract MERS-CoV in Saudi Arabia

April 27, 2014 8:38am

(Updated 3:03 p.m.) At least three Filipino nurses in Saudi Arabia have reportedly contracted the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), a Saudi news site reported Saturday.

The three were among 14 new cases that included seven in Jeddah, four in Riyadh and three in Makkah, according to a report on Arab News.

"Of the nurses who have contracted the virus, one was a 28-year-old female Filipino working at Dr. Sulaiman Al-Habib Hospital in Riyadh, but the bulletin said she hasn’t developed any symptoms," the report said.

It added two other Filipino nurses working at Al-Noor Hospital in Makkah contacted the virus.

While the report also did not name the nurses at Al-Noor, it described one as a 40-year-old female who has been in contact with a confirmed case. She has not developed any symptoms, it added.

The third was described as a 30-year-old male, who also got in contact with a confirmed case and developed mild respiratory symptoms. However, his health status is stable.

"The new confirmed cases has brought the total in the Kingdom to 313 since the virus was first discovered by health scientists in September 2012," the Arab News report said.

Meanwhile, the report said the Saudi Ministry of Health announced five more MERS-CoV deaths, bringing to 92 the MERS-CoV death toll there.

It said three of the new deaths included two males and a female. Prince Sultan Military Medical City in Riyadh and Al-Noor Hospital in Makkah each reported one death.

Arab News said the five who died included two elderly Palestinians and a Bangladeshi woman in her 40s, while the other victims were Saudis.

It added MERS is considered a deadlier but less-transmissible cousin of the SARS virus, which broke out in Asia in 2003 and infected 8,273 people.

However, the Foreign Affairs Department said it has yet to verify the Arab News story.

In a text message on Sunday afternoon, DFA spokesman Charles Jose said: "We have to get [a] verified report from our Embassy in Riyadh." Joel Locsin and Rouchelle R. Dinglasan/LBG/BM, GMA News

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