PH to help 3 suspected MERS patients in Saudi Arabia
MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines' Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said it is ready to help 3 Filipinos in Saudi Arabia once it confirms they contracted the deadly Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV).
“We are currently verifying the report that 3 Filipinos recently contracted MERS CoV in Saudi Arabia. Our embassy in Riyadh is coordinating with relevant authorities to gather sufficient information on the new cases,” DFA spokesman Charles Jose said in a media briefing Thursday, March 6.
“If these cases are confirmed, the DFA stands ready to extend the necessary assistance and will convey any information and update to their next of kin,” Jose said.
On March 2, Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Health reported that 3 Filipinos contracted MERS CoV along with 17 others from Saudi Arabia, Yemen, India, Egypt, Sudan, and Syria. The Saudi government described these as “confirmed cases” of MERS-CoV.
MERS-CoV is a fatal, influenza-like illness characterized by fever, cough, and, often, diarrhea. (READ: FAST FACTS: The MERS Coronavirus)
Up to 381 people have died of MERS-CoV worldwide, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on February 26. The WHO said up to 1,030 people have contracted the virus.
In the Philippines, the first MERS-CoV case was diagnosed in February.
The MERS-CoV patient in the Philippines was a 32-year-old Filipino woman, who worked as a nurse. She developed symptoms of MERS-CoV a day after she arrived in the Philippines from Saudi Arabia.
The Filipino nurse was eventually cleared of MERS-CoV.
“This means that our health system works,” Philippine Acting Health Secretary Janette Garin said on February 20. – Rappler.com