Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Philippines Quarantines Imported Asymptomatic MERS Case & Contacts




# 8481


The past two hours a report has been circulating on twitter regarding an (asymptomatic) imported case of MERS-CoV in the Philippines – that of a colleague of the paramedic who died last week in the UAE (see UAE Ministry Of Interior Announces 6 MERS-CoV Cases (1 Fatality)). 


This cluster has reportedly since grown to at least 10 cases (see UAE Announces 3 More MERS-CoV Cases).


The story has now broken in multiple media outlets.  Here are excerpts from the Gulf News.


Manila quarantines Filipino nurse from UAE after testing positive for Mers

Nurse who flew from UAE was quarantined along with family members in Manila

Published: 13:52 April 16, 2014

A Filipino nurse was quarantine along with his family after testing positive for the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (Mers) virus upon arrival at the Manila international airport, making him the first confirmed case in the Philippine, Health Secretary Enrique Ona announced Wednesday.

In a press conference, the official said the patient, whose name was not disclosed, had been quarantined in a government hospital along with nine members of his family who were exposed to the virus, the GMA news website reported.

The nurse was taken directly to a government hospital upon landing at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia). Tagalog-language Tweets made by GMA from the press conference stated that Ona said passengers on the plane seated next to the nurse with Mers-CoV symptoms will also be quarantined.

The nurse is a friend of the Filipino hospital employee who died last week in the UAE for the same illness, Ona told reporters.

(Continue . . )

While a statement has yet to appear on the Philippines Ministry of Health website, in the past few hours they have announced renewed 04/16/2014 Measures set against entry of MERS-CoV.   A PDF File that contains the following image:


Another report from Gulf News fleshes these safeguards out a bit:


Aquino moves to stop MERS-CoV from spreading in the Philippines

Surveillance system reactivated at airport terminals to screen incoming passengers

  • By Barbara Mae Dacanay, Bureau Chief
  • Published: 13:25 April 16, 2014


The Bureau of Quarantine has reactivated, at the three terminals of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in suburban Pasay City, a surveillance system that the health department started using to monitor incoming passengers for bird flu and influenza virus (H7N9 and H1N1) in 2003, the health department said in a statement.

Hospitals have been ordered to report to authorities cases of patients with severe respiratory illnesses, the statement said, adding that passengers coming from the Middle East should watch out for symptoms of respiratory ailments within 10 days of arrival.

(Continue . . .)


Although often the first, and most visible line of defense mounted against a viral threat like bird flu or MERS,  airport surveillance has a less-than-sterling history of success in keeping infected passengers from coming into a country. A topic we’ve discussed before (and likely will again soon):