PH mapping Middle East hospitals with MERS cases
MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine government is currently mapping hospitals in the Middle East treating cases of the MERS Coronavirus, Acting Health Secretary Janette Garin revealed on Friday, February 20.
After a meeting with the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Garin learned the mapping includes hospitals that previously treated MERS cases, as well as communities.
"From there, [DFA] determines who are the Filipinos in these hospitals. That way, if anyone is scheduled to return to the Philippines, we know, we can monitor and take care of them, and they will be informed who to call or where to go once symptoms occur,” Garin said in a mix of English and Filipino.
The move comes after a Filipina nurse who arrived in Manila from Saudi Arabia on February 1 tested positive for MERS. She was confined at the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) for more than a week.
On Friday, Garin announced the hospital already discharged the nurse after she was finally cleared of MERS. She will remain in a 10-day home quarantine for further observation. (READ: Filipina nurse already clear of MERS-CoV)
"Sa ngayon, wala po tayong active case of MERS in the Philippines. But we still have to be vigilant...dahil marami tayong mga kababayan sa Middle East," Garin added.
(Right now, we don't have an active case of MERS-CoV in the Philippines. But we still have to be vigilant...because we have many Filipinos in the Middle East.)
MERS or Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus is a fatal, influenza-like illness characterized by fever, cough, and often with diarrhea. (READ: FAST FACTS: The MERS Coronavirus)
As of February 16, the World Health Organization reported 983 laboratory-confirmed cases of infections, 360 of which resulted in death, worldwide. – Rappler.com
Hospital corridor image via Shutterstock
MERS seen under an electron microscope image from AFP