43 out of 414 Etihad passengers yet to be found, tested for MERS-CoV – Palace
MANILA, Philippines – A week after Etihad Airways flight EY 0424 landed in the Philippines, the government has tracked down more than 80 percent of its passengers, with only 43 persons yet to be tested for the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Corona Virus (MERS-CoV).
“According to the DOH, as of this time only 43 out of 414 have not been contacted. Three hundred twenty five (325) passengers or almost 80 percent have been contacted, while 46 passengers are still undergoing contact tracing,” Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said on Wednesday noon.
He said that out of the 325 passengers, 252 have undergone nose and throat swabbing. Of the number, 221 passengers having tested negative while 31 others are waiting for their results.
“Despite these highly encouraging results, we call on our citizens to remain vigilant, and to heed preventive measures and quarantine procedures of our health authorities,” Coloma said.
Travelers on the Etihad Airlines flight were tracked down by authorities after their co-passenger tested positive for MERS-CoV in the United Arab Emirates. Subsequent testing, however, revealed that he did not have the illness or had recovered from it. Nevertheless, the Department of Health believes that he may still be a carrier of the virus, prompting them to contact everyone he has been in contact with, including those on the Etihad flight.
The MERS-CoV is a deadly virus related to the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). Its symptoms include fever, cough, shortness of breath and diarrhea.
According to the World Health Organization, from September 2012 to April 17, 2014, there were 243 confirmed cases of MERS-CoV infection all over the world, 93 of which have resulted in death.
“Travelers returning from the Middle East are advised to fill out the quarantine forms providing detailed contact information to facilitate subsequent tracing if needed,” the Secretary said.
“Those who become ill within two weeks upon arrival are strongly advised to seek immediate medical attention from all public hospitals and/or any DOH-accredited medical facilities and to delay visits to crowded places,” he added.
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