Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Philippine Dept Of Health Statement On Imported MERS Case – ex KSA


KSA - The International hub of MERS – Credit ECDC 


# 9698


The statement by the Saudi MOH on Monday that so far in 2015, there had been no nosocomial transmission of MERS in the Kingdom may prove to have been premature, as we have news overnight of a 32-year-old Filipino nurse, recently returned from Saudi Arabia, testing positive for MERS in Manila. 


First the (translated) statement from the MOH, followed by a Xinhua report, after which I’ll return with a bit more.




February 11, 2015

During this time, prevent the spread of emerging infectious diseases such ngMERSCOV. Important, continued vigilance of our health workers to spread it and immediately remediate every Filipino infect MERSCOV.

Last day, a patient was admitted to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM). A 32 year old nurse from Saudi Arabia felt fever, body aches, cough and difficulty breathing - symptoms compatible with a patient MERSCOV.

Testing was done on the patient and yielded positive results. The patient is currently confined in a negative pressure room at RITM. Patuloy syang sinusubaybayan ng ating mga doctors at health workers.

Sa ngayon, the patient is in stable condition. Contact tracing of other passengers is also being done. Experts, however, say that the possibility of other passengers on the plane being infected is low.

Re-call the Department of Health to the public to collaborate on the lookout to spread beyond the country's emerging infectious diseases such as MERSCOV. Shows flu-like symptoms, and usually gets in the Middle East Region.

Prepared for the government to treat the sick, but early magpapakonsulta great help if anyone feels the same symptoms, especially if saMiddle from East Region.

Philippine gov't takes measures to prevent spread of MERS-CoV   

MANILA, Feb. 11 (Xinhua) -- Philippine President Benigno Aquino III has ordered Acting Health Secretary Janette Garin to ensure that all necessary preventive measures are being taken following a confirmed case of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus ( MERS-CoV) in the country, a senior government official said Wednesday.

Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said that contact tracing is being done to locate fellow passengers of the patient who traveled from Saudi Arabia to Manila last week.

Citing a report of the Department of Health (DOH), he said that a 32-year-old Filipino nurse from Saudi Arabia was tested positive of MERS-CoV after experiencing symptoms related to a patient with such illness.

The patient is currently being treated at state-run Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM).

The DOH said that the patient is currently in stable condition.

The government called on the public to cooperate to ensure that emerging infectious diseases, such as MERS-CoV would not spread in the country.



While MERS is only believed endemic on the Arabian peninsula, cases have been exported to at least 13 countries outside of the Middle East.  All of these exported cases have had a recent travel history to the region or contact with a case that had travelled from there.


Credit ECDC RRA January 2015


On Monday,  in WHO Summary & Risk Assessment On MERS-CoV,  the World Health Organization had this to say (emphasis mine) about the likelihood of seeing additional exported MERS cases in the months ahead.


Can we expect additional cases of MERS-CoV infection in the Middle East? And can we expect additional cases exported to other countries?

WHO expects that additional cases of MERS-CoV infection will be reported from the Middle East, and it is likely that cases will continue to be exported to other countries by tourists, travellers, migrant workers or pilgrims who might acquire infection after exposure to an animal (for example, while visiting farms or markets) or human source (possibly in a health care setting). Until more is understood about mode of transmission and risk factors for infection, cases resulting from zoonotic transmission will continue to occur, and will eventually lead to limited community transmission within households and possibly significant hospital-associated outbreaks. Among the recently exported cases who reported performing Umrah in SAU, investigation into their activities while in SAU revealed that they had either visited a healthcare facility or had come into contact with camels or raw camel products while in SAU.


Given the lengthy (up to 14 day) incubation period, there is plenty of time for someone to become infected, and travel extensively around the globe, before any symptoms appear.  


Today’s announcement will no doubt revive calls for additional airport screening. Politically, and in terms of reassuring the public, the screening of passenger arriving at airports and other points of entry probably has some merit.  And it may provide valuable surveillance information as well. 


But practically, as an effective way to keep an emerging virus out of a country, studies continue to show just how unlikely that outcome really is (see MERS: The Limitations Of Airport Screening).


Making it desirable that – whenever possible – outbreaks of emerging viruses are quashed as quickly as possible at the source, before they can board an airplane and spread inexorably around the globe.

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