In what is getting to be a habit in the Philippines, another patient with a suspected novel virus infection has died, but was not tested for the suspected pathogen, leaving the question of their disease status open.
Earlier this year (see Philippine DOH Statement On Suspected Imported Avian Flu Case) we saw an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) recently returned from China who displayed symptoms consistent with bird flu - but the DOH never actually confirmed the diagnosis - opting instead for a quick cremation to `end the threat’.
Today, we’re learning that a Saudi National, recently arrived in the Philippines, fell ill with MERS-like symptoms on Sept 26th and died on the 29th. During the patient’s brief hospitalization, apparently no one took samples for MERS testing, and the patient’s remains were quickly repatriated to Saudi Arabia for quick burial.
October 3, 2015 11:28am
(Updated 12:20 p.m.) The Department of Health (DOH) on Saturday announced that a Saudi national who arrived in the country last September 17 and showed symptoms of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome-coronavirus (MERS-CoV) has died.
Health Secretary Janette Garin said in a press conference that the 63-year-old Saudi national died last September 29.
Garin said that the Saudi national started showing MERS-CoV symptoms on September 26. The patient asked to be brought to the hospital on September 28 and died the next day.
DOH spokesperson Lyndon Lee Suy clarified during the briefing that they were not able to test the Saudi national and confirm if his death was caused by MERS-CoV.
(Continue . . . )
As the Philippines DOH website is thus far silent on this case, all we have to go on are media reports.
Assuming these reports are reasonably accurate, the fact that MERS was not immediately suspected (and tested for) in a traveler recently arrived from Saudi Arabia who presented with `fever, cough, and chills’ is less than reassuring.
Particularly since the Philippines have already seen two other (confirmed) MERS cases already in 2015.