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MERS Philippines Ex-Saudi Arabia 36M

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The Philippines has confirmed its second case of MERS this year Ex-Saudi Arabia. At least one contact is symptomatic.

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DOH: Foreigner in PH tests positive for MERS-CoV

(UPDATED) The 36-year-old male patient who traveled from the Middle East is currently in isolation at the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, and is recovering, the Department of Health says

Published 10:04 AM, July 06, 2015
Updated 11:50 AM, July 06, 2015



MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – A 36-year-old foreigner has tested positive for the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), the Philippine Department of Health (DOH) has confirmed.

This is the second confirmed MERS case in the country, after a Filipina nurse from Saudi Arabia tested positive for the virus last February. She was cleared of the deadly virus that same month.

The patient, whose name and nationality were withheld, had traveled from Saudi Arabia, passing by Dubai in the Middle East, Health Secretary Janette Garin said on Monday, July 6.

The foreigner is currently in isolation at the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM), and is recovering.

The DOH said the patient had begun developing the symptoms of MERS – coughing and fever – on July 2. He was tested around 11:30 am on Saturday, July 4.

The tests yielded a positive result around 5 pm.

Garin said the patient has been responding to treatment and is likely to recover soon.

"Kasalukuyan siyang binabantayan, stable and very cooperative. Nakitang mababa ang viral load ng pasyente. Ibig sabihin, hindi ganoon kadami ang MERS coronavirus sa katawan niya at posibleng gumagaling na ito," she said.

(We are currently observing him, he is in stable condition and very cooperative. The patient has a low viral load, which means there is not a lot of the virus in his body and it's possible that he's already recovering.)

Downplaying fears of transmission, the health secretary said contact tracing is currently ongoing to identify other people who may have had contact with the patient.

Eight close contacts of the patient have already been identified and are now under quarantine at the RITM. One patient is currently being tested after she developed coughs, the DOH added.

Health spokesperson Lyndon Lee Suy said the patient did not exhibit any symptoms of MERS when he entered the Philippines, which explains why the thermal scanners did not raise alarm.

Garin urged the public to remain calm, explaining that there is no documented case of community transmission of the virus.

"We are reminding the public that there is no documented community transmission of MERS. Transmission usually happens inside the hospital and with the close contacts of the patient," Garin said.

Meanwhile, the DOH has organized a task force to trace around 200 passengers who were on the same flight with the patient.

The health department also urged Filipinos who have recently returned from the Middle East to report to the nearest hospital if they experience the flu-like symptoms of MERS.

MERS is a fatal, influenza-like illness characterized by fever and cough, often with diarrhea. (READ: FAST FACTS: The MERS Coronavirus)

As of June 2015, the World Health Organization has recorded 1338 laboratory-confirmed cases since 2012 in 26 countries, including at least 475 deaths. Katerina Francisco/Rappler.com


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UPDATE 1-Philippines confirms second MERS case


(Writes through)

(Reuters) - The Philippines confirmed a second case of the deadly Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) corona virus on Monday in a man who showed symptoms after arriving in Manila last month from Dubai.

The 36-year-old was admitted to hospital on Saturday and was under observation, Health Ministry spokesman Lyndon Lee-suy said, adding contact tracing was now under way to prevent the spread of the disease.

The man had also travelled to Saudi Arabia, the spokesman said. His condition was improving and there was no known transmission so far.

The first case discovered in the Philippines was in January, a Filipino nurse working in Saudi Arabia who survived.

MERS was first identified in humans in Saudi Arabia in 2012 and the majority of cases have been in the Middle East. Scientists are not sure of the origin of the virus, but several studies have linked it to camels.

Isolated cases cropped up in Asia before South Korea recorded the biggest number in an outbreak that started in May.

Nearly 180 people have been infected and 27 people have died in South Korea, the largest outbreak outside Saudi Arabia. In the Thai capital Bangkok, more than a hundred people were believed to have been in contact with an Omani man, the only MERS case in Thailand who eventually recovered.

The World Health Organization described South Korea's outbreak as a "wake-up call" but said it did not constitute a global emergency. (Reporting by Manuel Mogato; Editing byNick Macfie)


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DOH confirms MERS-CoV case in PH




Airport personnel are on heightened alert against MERS.


Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — The Department of Health (DOH) announced on Monday (July 6) the second case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in the Philippines after a 36-year-old male foreigner from the Middle East tested positive of the virus.

According to the DOH, the patient was referred to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) last Saturday at 11:30 a.m.

The test results released at 5:00 p.m. on Saturday showed that the patient had a low viral load of MERS-CoV.

DOH spokesperson Lyndon Lee-Suy said the patient was already on the 14th day of the incubation period of the virus when he was tested. This means that the risk of transmission to other passengers in the same flight with the patient is lower.

The DOH is monitoring eight people who had close contact with the patient. One of them, who was coughing, is also confined at the RITM, while the rest are quarantined at home.

MERS patients show symptoms similar to those who have flu, such as fever with cough and colds.

MERS-CoV: Key facts you should know

Health Secretary Janet Garin said there is no need to panic as there has been no record of community transmission of MERS.

Garin added that those who are at risk of contracting the virus are hospital workers and household members with close and repeated contact with the patient.


The first MERS-CoV case in the country was of a pregnant Filipina nurse. She was tested in February and has recovered.

This is a developing story. We will continue to update this page as more information comes in. Follow @cnnphilippines on Twitter for more updates.

CNN Philippines' Pia Bonalos contributed to this report.



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Foreigner in Philippines tests positive for MERS virus




MANILA, Philippines (AP) — A 36-year-old foreigner who arrived in the Philippines from the Middle East is under quarantine after testing positive for the MERS virus, health officials said Monday.

Philippine Health Secretary Janette Garin said several people the foreigner had come in close contact with have been traced. She said one of them, a Filipino woman exhibiting mild symptoms, had been isolated and that her test results were being awaited.

At least seven other people who had close contact with the patient were under home quarantine.

The patient's home country was not immediately disclosed.

It's the second confirmed case of Middle East respiratory syndrome in the Philippines. In February, a Filipino nurse tested positive for MERS after arriving home Saudi Arabia. She was cleared of the virus the same month.

In the latest case, the patient arrived in the Philippines on June 19 from Saudi Arabia but also stayed in Dubai. He left on a second trip while not yet exhibiting any symptoms and came back to the Philippines, said officials, who did not want to disclose where the patient went.

The patient developed a fever and cough on June 30, the health department said. He sought medical care on July 2, tested positive for the MERS virus on July 4 and was transferred to the government's Research Institute for Tropical Medicine facility.

Garin said around 200 passengers who were on the second flight with him were being traced.

Lyndon Lee-Suy, the health department spokesman, said 19 other close contacts of the foreigner were still being traced.

President Benigno Aquino III has tasked the health department to tighten surveillance and quarantine measures at ports of entry and to ensure prompt reporting by all patients who show symptoms of the disease for immediate isolation, treatment and contact tracing, said his spokesman Herminio Coloma.

MERS has killed 33 people in South Korea, where 186 cases have been confirmed, according to the World Health Organization. It is the biggest outbreak outside the Middle East region, where the virus was first seen in 2012 in Saudi Arabia.

Typical symptoms include fever, cough and shortness of breath, and sometimes pneumonia and diarrhea. About 36 percent of reported patients have died, according to WHO.



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Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) – The Philippines

Disease outbreak news
8 July 2015

On 6 July 2015, the IHR National Focal Point of the Philippines notified WHO of 1 laboratory-confirmed case of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infection.

Details of the case

The case is a 36-year-old male from Finland. Between 10 and 18 June, he travelled to Saudi Arabia and stayed in Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam. The patient had cough before travelling to Saudi Arabia; however, while in Saudi Arabia, he did not feel unwell and did not seek medical attention. Investigation of history of exposure to known risk factors in the 14 days prior to the onset of symptoms is ongoing.

On June 18, the patient left Saudi Arabia, stayed overnight in Dubai, United Arab Emirates and travelled to Manila, Philippines on June 19. He was asymptomatic when he left Saudi Arabia. From 20 to 22 June, the patient was in the areas of Taguig and Makati in Manila. Between 23 and 24 June, he travelled from Manila to Penang, Malaysia via Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. On 25 June, the patient travelled from Penang, Malaysia to Singapore and from Singapore to Manila. During his travels from Malaysia to Singapore and back to Manila, he was asymptomatic.

On June 30, the patient developed fever and cough and on 2 July he visited a hospital where he had specimens taken for laboratory testing. Against medical advice, he decided to leave the hospital. The patient stayed home on 3 July. On 4 July, he returned to the hospital to obtain the results of the tests but the clinic was closed. Then, the patient went to another hospital where he was seen by health care professionals. Once the patient tested positive for MERS-CoV on 4 July, he was brought by ambulance to a third hospital and placed in isolation. Currently, the patient is afebrile and remains in stable condition.

Public health response

The Philippines Department of Health (DoH) is carrying out active tracing of household and healthcare contacts. The DoH is also actively tracing all passengers on the flights from Singapore to Manila.

The national authorities of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have been informed. Investigations on the possible exposure and contact tracing are ongoing. Enhanced disease surveillance is being implemented.

Global situation

Globally, since September 2012, WHO has been notified of 1,367 laboratory-confirmed cases of infection with MERS-CoV, including at least 487 related deaths.

WHO advice

Based on the current situation and available information, WHO encourages all Member States to continue their surveillance for acute respiratory infections and to carefully review any unusual patterns.

Infection prevention and control measures are critical to prevent the possible spread of MERS-CoV in health care facilities. It is not always possible to identify patients with MERS-CoV early because like other respiratory infections, the early symptoms of MERS-CoV are non-specific. Therefore, health-care workers should always apply standard precautions consistently with all patients, regardless of their diagnosis. Droplet precautions should be added to the standard precautions when providing care to patients with symptoms of acute respiratory infection; contact precautions and eye protection should be added when caring for probable or confirmed cases of MERS-CoV infection; airborne precautions should be applied when performing aerosol generating procedures.

Until more is understood about MERS-CoV, people with diabetes, renal failure, chronic lung disease, and immunocompromised persons are considered to be at high risk of severe disease from MERS‐CoV infection. Therefore, these people should avoid close contact with animals, particularly camels, when visiting farms, markets, or barn areas where the virus is known to be potentially circulating. General hygiene measures, such as regular hand washing before and after touching animals and avoiding contact with sick animals, should be adhered to.

Food hygiene practices should be observed. People should avoid drinking raw camel milk or camel urine, or eating meat that has not been properly cooked.

WHO remains vigilant and is monitoring the situation. Given the lack of evidence of sustained human-to-human transmission in the community, WHO does not recommend travel or trade restrictions with regard to this event. Raising awareness about MERS-CoV among travellers to and from affected countries is good public health practice.

Public health authorities in host countries preparing for mass gatherings should ensure that all recommendations and guidance issued by WHO with respect to MERS-CoV have been appropriately taken into consideration and made accessible to all concerned officials. Public health authorities should plan for surge capacity to ensure that visitors during the mass gathering can be accommodated by health systems.


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