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9 of Etihad passengers sent to Batangas hospital for MERS-CoV tests – report

/ 09:16 PM April 21, 2014

Passengers walk past a thermal scanner at the medical quarantine area at the arrival section of Manila’s International Airport in Paranaque, south of Manila, Philippines on Wednesday, April 16, 2014. AP FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines – At least nine have been sent to a Batangas hospital as they were among the passengers of Etihad flight EY0424, which carried the Filipino nurse who earlier was tested positive for the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome-Corona virus (MERS-CoV), Radyo Inquirer 990AM reported Monday.

The report quoted Batangas Medical Center director Dr. Monchita Magnaye as saying two of the nine patients had been sent home for testing negative for the virus.

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The other seven were isolated pending the results of the laboratory tests, the report said.

The nine individuals were among the over 400 passengers of Etihad plane, which had carried a Filipino nurse reported to have come into contact with the Filipino paramedic who died of MERS-CoV in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The Filipino nurse had tested positive for the virus abroad but later tested negative when he came back in the country.

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The MERS-CoV is a deadly virus related to the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) that spread in China twelve years ago. Its symptoms include fever, cough, shortness of breath and diarrhea.

According to World Health Organization, there has been 243 confirmed cases of MERS-CoV worldwide, including 93 deaths since March 2012.

The Department of Foreign Affairs advised Filipinos to follow these eight reminders to prevent the further spread of the virus:

1.    Practice proper hand hygiene always, by washing your hands with soap or hand rubs with alcohol before and after eating; before and after handling, cooking and preparing food; after coughing, sneezing and using the toilets; and before and before and after touching animals.

2.    Practice proper cough etiquette by covering your mouth and nose while sneezing or coughing. Use a facial tissue when coughing or sneezing and cover your mouth and nose with it. Dispose the tissue in a waste basket.

3.    Avoid contact with farm and domesticated animals, including camels.

4.    Avoid contact with people sick or infected with MERS-CoV. If you have a respiratory illness, stay home and wear a surgical mask to protect your family members.

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5.    If you are a health worker, strictly follow infection control protocols in your work.

6.    Visit your doctor, a hospital or health facility immediately if symptoms of MERS-CoV manifest itself, including persistent coughing, and others.

7.    If you were in close contact with a confirmed MERS-CoV patient, comply with local health regulations and postpone any trip abroad until after test results are negative.

8.    Practice healthy habits such as regular exercise, balanced and nutritional diet, and adequate sleep of at least 8 hours, as it would help strengthen the body’s immunity.

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TAGS: Batangas, disease, MERS-CoV, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome-Corona Virus, United Arab Emirates, Virus
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