Two days ago the Philippine DOH Announced Another Imported MERS Case, their second imported case this year. Although the initial details were sparse, we knew the case involved a 36-year-old male recently arrived from the Middle East – ostensibly Dubai.
Today the World Health Organization has posted an update on that case - one which significantly expands his travel history (including a week in KSA) - but doesn’t answer the primary question of exactly when and where he became infected.
The epidemiological investigation – along with contact tracing and enhanced surveillance – is ongoing.
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.