CORRECTION: DOH probes case of 5-year-old who tested positive for ‘non-specific’ virus
(This version corrects an earlier report that the Health department was probing a new coronavirus strain.)
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) on Tuesday said it is investigating the case of a five-year-old who traveled from Wuhan in China to Cebu City and later tested positive for a “non-specific pancoronavirus.”
According to Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, the five-year-old boy traveled from Wuhan, China and was hospitalized in Cebu City for having fever, throat irritation, and cough prior to entering the country.
“Samples from the patient were first tested at the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine and yielded negative results for the Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome-related coronavirus or more often referred to as MERS-COV and severe acute respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus,” Duque said in a press briefing.
“However, the samples tested positive for non-specific pancorona virus assay, and the specimen has been sent to Australia to identify the specific coronavirus strain,” Duque added.
Duque enumerated that common signs of a coronavirus infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulty.
“In severe cases, it could cause pneumonia, respiratory syndrome, kidney failure, and even death,” he added.
The new strain of coronavirus has affected China and has infected more than 200 persons. Four people have reportedly died due to the outbreak.
Chinese President Xi Jinping said that the rise in cases “must be taken seriously,” and that every possible measure to combat the disease must be taken.
Duque added that the Bureau of Quarantine is now working with airlines and airport authorities “to strengthen border surveillance.”
The Epidemiology Bureau of the DOH, meanwhile, will be heightening its community surveillance, Duque added.
“Personal protective equipment is available at the Bureau of Quarantine, centers for health development, and DOH hospitals,” Duque said.
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