MANILA — The Department of Health (DOH) said Friday that the 11 individuals who had close contacts with the Filipina nurse, who yielded positive with Middle East Respiratory Syndrome – Corona Virus (MERSCoV), showed symptoms of the disease.
The eleven patients were among the 56 people who were listed to had close contact with the nurse.
“All 56 persons yielded a negative result in the first round of tests using nose and throat swab samples. However, the 11 symptomatic patients will undergo another round of tests using sputum and rectal swab samples,” DOH Acting Secretary Janette L. Garin said in a press briefing held at the DOH media relations unit (MRU) in Tayuman, Manila.
Garin said they cannot immediately consider the 11 people to be “MERS-CoV free” due to pending additional tests required to be done aside from the initial test conducted, which are nasopharyngeal and oropharyngeal.
She said that Mers-CoV usually thrives in the lungs.” It is deep down there. So to make sure that it will yield negative, we need to get phlegm at rectal swab which we currently conduct at them,” Garin said.
The 11 people were composed of the husband of the nurse and 10 personnel from the Evangelista Medical Specialty Hospital in San Pedro City, Laguna.
They were traced as among the people that had contact with the patient who initially seek medical attention last Feb. 2 before being referred to (RITM) Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) in Alabang, Muntinlupa City.
The remaining 45, who yielded negative for the virus had not shown any symptoms of MERSCoV.
They are composed of hospital personnel and the mother-in-law and house helper of the nurse.
On Wednesday (Feb. 11), the DOH confirmed that the nurse working in Saudi Arabia is the first case of MERSCoV in the country.
On the test conducted, the Filipina nurse it was learned that she was four to five weeks pregnant.
“She is under stable condition right now and the medical staffs are taking enough care in ensuring her safety and her baby as well,” she said.
She added that among the 220 co-passengers of the patient in Saudi Arabian Airlines Flight 860, a total of 92 individuals where located and agreed to be tested.
“We call on the remaining passengers to contact the DOH Hotline (02) 711-1001 and (02) 711-1002and undergo testing,” the Health Chief added.
She also said the DOH has already activated medical personnel who had undergone adequate training in handling patients of emerging and infectious diseases such as Ebola virus and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) before.
She further said that government hospitals are added as additional testing centers for patients with MERSCoV symptoms as part of the intense effort in ensuring to control the disease.
MERSCoV symptom is usually flu-like where patient may seen suffering from difficulty of breathing, fever and cough.
Other symptoms are vomiting, diarrhea and nausea.
It is important to have a strong immune system in fighting the disease.