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DOH: Pinay nurse confirmed afflicted with MERS-CoV

(Updated 8:49 p.m.) The Department of Health on Wednesday confirmed that the Philippines has at least one case of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome-Coronavirus (MERS-CoV).
At a press conference, the Health Department said a female nurse from Saudi Arabia tested positive for the disease, upon returning to the country. The nurse is 32 years old.

The patient is presently confined at the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine in Muntinlupa City.

In a press release, the DOH said the patient, who will remain unnamed for her privacy, is in a negative pressure room and is being observed along with her husband, who was in the same flight as her.

The passenger arrived in the Philippines February 1 aboard Saudi Airlines flight 860. She was diagnosed a few days later.

“Testing was done on the patient and yielded positive results. The patient is currently confined in a negative pressure room at RITM. Patuloy syang sinusubaybayan ng ating mga doctors at health workers,” the statement said.

The DOH has also started tracing the 225 other passengers on board the Saudi Airlines flight, but the DOH said there is a low risk of infections since the patient did not exhibit symptoms while on board.

“Contact tracing of other passengers is also being done. Experts, however, say that the possibility of other passengers on the plane being infected is low,” it said.

Meanwhile, even as the DOH said it is fully prepared to deal with the disease, it also cautioned the public to be watchful for warning signs of the disease, which could present flu-like symptoms.

“Handa ang ating gobyerno na gamutin ang mga maysakit pero malaking tulong kung maagang magpapakonsulta ang sinumang may nararamdaman ng nasabing sintomas, lalo na kung galing sa Middle East Regions,’ it said.
In September 2014, another nurse who also came from Saudi Arabia was suspected to have Mers-CoV, but she ultimately tested negative for the disease. 

According to the World health Organization, coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause a range of illnesses in humans, ranging from the common cold to the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

The Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) is a strain of coronavirus was first identified in 2012 in Saudi Arabia.
As of February 5, the WHO said at least 356 have died from the virus, while there have been 971 confirmed cases. — RSJ/KBK, GMA News