MANILA — The Department of Health (DOH) said that the 32-year-old Filipina nurse, the first case of MERSCoV (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Corona Virus) in the country, who is now cleared from the virus was advised to still continue regular follow up check-up upon discharged from the hospital.
“If in case she will again have symptoms of cough, we advised her to immediately seek consultation to her OB (obstetrician) and internist as a precautionary measure because pregnant women are susceptible to diseases,” said DOH Acting Secretary Janette L. Garin.
Secretary Garin added that since the nurse is still gaining her strength, there is really a need ensure that proper care is given to her and her baby as well.
Garin added that the nurse can be allowed to move in her community but still, the advice is limited movement because of her pregnancy.
“She is safe in the community and all the patients who were declared negative from the virus,” Garin said, citing that the nurse was also advised to follow the 10-day home quarantine (observation period) as a routine protocol of DOH and the World Health organization (WHO).
“What is really important is, in the next few weeks or even years after, if she arrives again from the Arab Peninsula, she will have a follow-up check-up,” Garin said.
The nurse was 6 to 7 weeks or almost two months pregnant.
She arrived from Saudi Arabia last February 1 without any symptoms of MERSCoV.
The symptoms of MERSCoV started to appear on the next day.
Immediately, the nurse from Laguna had a check-up at the Evangelista Medical Center which later referred her to RITM (Research Institute for Tropical Medicine) in Alabang, Muntinlupa City.
RITM is one of DOH specialized hospital dealing with the containment of emerging infectious diseases like MERSCoV.
Through the three tests conducted, it was found out that the nurse was positive with MERSCoV on Feb. 10.
The DOH then appealed for other co-passengers in the Saudia Flight 860 to cooperate in the testing to ensure that local transmission can be prevented.
Contact tracing as well was done to ensure that those who had close contact with the nurse are cleared from the virus.
Other specialized hospitals of DOH in different regions were also activated to perform testing as part of the concerted effort in dealing with the infection.
During her confinement at RITM, the nurse was monitored daily, while vitamins for her baby was also being given as well during the treatment period.
The doctors who treated her was careful with the kind of antibiotics and medication to ensure that she and her baby will be safe.
With the findings that the nurse was negative from the MERSCoV, the DOH attributes the recent success of controlling the spread of infection to the cooperation of media, the health workers from the hospitals, LGUs and public awareness.
MERSCoV originated in Saudi Arabia in 2012.
Among its symptoms are flu-like condition like difficulty of breathing, associated with cough, fever higher than 38 degrees and diarrhea.
The virus can be transmitted not through the air but through close contact or respiratory droplets.