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DOH: Nurse who arrived in Philippines tested positive for MERS-CoV

Camille Diola - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) — The Department of Health (DOH) announced Wednesday that a Filipino nurse who came home from Saudi Arabia was tested positive for the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus, or the MERS-CoV.

The overseas worker with MERS-CoV was aboard a Saudi Airlines flight which arrived on Friday. Her companion, however, tested negative of the virus.

"Both were asymptomatic at the time of their entry. However, as a precautionary procedure, a health check was conducted on them on Aug. 25, 2014," the DOH noted.

Health authorities from Saudi Arabia, however, relayed information that one of the nurses tested positive. She was located by DOH employees in South Cotabato.

She was admitted and placed in isolation at the Southern Philippines Medical Center in Davao del Sur on Tuesday.

The estimated 240 passengers aboard the same Saudi Airlines flight are currently being contacted by DOH to urge them to get tested.

Health Secretary Enrique Ona assured the public that the Philippines is still free from the MERS-CoV as there is only a slim possibility that large numbers will be infected with it.

Ona said that the virus can only be contracted from droplets released by an infected patient.

He also appealed to all returning overseas workers who developed any symptoms of the disease to cooperate with the Philippine government to protect themselves and their families.

According to the DOH, Filipino travelers to the Middle East countries are advised to avoid contact with persons with influenza-like illness and should observe frequent hand washing.

If they become ill 14 days form arrival, they must immediately report to any accredited hospital and avoid crowded places until they are clear of the symptoms, the state agency said.

Diagnosis of the disease is made through serology, and if necessary, through DNA testing while treatment remains supportive.

DAVAO DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH DOH HEALTH HEALTH SECRETARY ENRIQUE ONA MIDDLE EAST MIDDLE EAST RESPIRATORY SYNDROME CORONAVIRUS SAUDI AIRLINES SAUDI ARABIA SOUTH COTABATO SOUTHERN PHILIPPINES MEDICAL CENTER
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