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Friday, February 20, 2015

Zambo passengers of Saudia airlines have no trace of MERS-CoV – City Health Office

By Dominic I. Sanchez

ZAMBOANGA CITY – The four of the five co-passengers of the pregnant Filipina nurse diagnosed with the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome – Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) who flew to Zamboanga City have no traces of the disease so far, said City Health Officer Rodelin Agbulos in a press conference here Monday.

Dr. Agbulos told the press that upon arrival in the city, the four passengers were diagnosed with no symptoms of MERS-CoV.

“The passengers are asymptomatic, meaning they had no signs of the symptoms of the virus,” Dr. Agbulos explained. He added that the City Health Office is continuously monitoring the passengers for any symptoms.

“The fifth was not monitored since the passenger immediately proceeded to Jolo province, said Agbulos. But the passenger was already reported to the Department of Health (DOH) to be monitored in the province.

Last Sunday (February 15), Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Sonny Coloma bared that two more co-passengers of the Filipina nurse were monitored to have been exhibiting symptoms, and are already under isolation.

“The Research Institute for Tropical Medicine in Makati is monitoring the two patients, and providing them with medical care,” Coloma said over Radyo ng Bayan.

On February 1, Saudia Airlines flight 860 arrived in Manila with 225 passengers on board, including the confirmed MERS-COV patient, and the five who had already reached Zamboanga City.

Meanwhile, the DOH has been reminding the passengers to immediately seek medical assistance or contact the local DOH if they experience symptoms such as fever, body pain, or difficulty in breathing. Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea are also other possible symptoms.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) as of February, 358 people have already died from the virus worldwide. Medical scientists from all over the world are still uncertain as to how the virus originated, although they generally believe that it came from an animal source. To date, medical authorities believe that MERS-CoV is spread due to close contact with an infected person, although health agencies now are still trying to determine the specifics of its spread.

The WHO continuously advises governments to monitor acute respiratory infections and to “carefully review unusual patterns.”