Filipina companion of foreigner with MERS-CoV clear of virus–DOH
MANILA, Philippines — The Filipina companion of the foreigner who was confirmed to have the dreaded Middle East Respiratory Syndrome-Corona Virus (MERS-CoV) is clear of the disease but specialists will continue to closely monitor her condition until next week, the end of the 14-day incubation period, according to a health official.
The Filipino woman was also admitted at the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM), along with the infected foreigner from Dubai, on Saturday after developing a cough, one of the symptoms of MERS-CoV.
“She tested negative for the virus so she can already be transferred from the negative pressure room to a regular room but we will continue to observe her because the 14-day incubation period has not yet ended,” said Dr. Lyndon Lee Suy, the Department of Health spokesperson, on Tuesday.
On Monday, Lee Suy said the 14-day incubation period would end on July 16. Calculations started from the day the 36-year-old index patient started showing symptoms of the disease—fever and cough, in particular, on July 2.
The foreigner flew from Dubai with a short stopover in Saudi Arabia, where the virus was first reported in April 2012, to Manila sometime in June.
Health Secretary Janette Garin also disclosed on Monday that the tourist visited another country, which she declined to reveal, during the 14-day incubation period since his arrival from the Middle East.
Lee Suy said the health department has also limited its contact-tracing to those who sat near the index patient in the last flight he took since the 14-day observation period would end on July 9.
On Monday, Garin said the health department was tracking down roughly 200 passengers of that flight.
“So we are just calling up those who sat within three rows front, back and side of the index patient,” he said. “So far, we know the sitting arrangement,” added Lee Suy.
So far, 21 people identified to have close contact with the index patient have been put in home quarantine. But all of them continued to be asymptomatic.
“But we will still monitor them for 14 days (until July 16) because they might suddenly develop symptoms of the virus,” he said.
Garin earlier said the latest MERS-CoV case in the country should not cause the public to panic since no community transmission has been documented even in areas where an outbreak of the virus had occurred.
Transmission of the virus usually occurs between patient and healthcare workers. MERS-CoV is less-transmissible but a deadlier cousin of the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) virus.
The virus is not airborne but is spread from an infected person’s respiratory secretions, through coughing or sneezing, usually after close contact. SFM
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