5 co-passengers of nurse with MERS-CoV identified, traced in Zamboanga City
ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines – The city health office here on Thursday announced that it has identified five co-plane passengers of the Filipino nurse, who earlier tested positive for the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome – Corona Virus (MERS-CoV).
The plane boarded by the nurse, the Saudia Airlines’ flight 850, arrived in the country from Saudi Arabia on February 5.
“We had traced the five passengers but we were only able to get hold of four of them because the other one went home directly to Jolo,” Dr. Rodelin Agbulos, the city health officer, said.
He said they had reported the matter to the Department of Health so it could start looking for the fifth passenger.
“All the four had been subjected to nasopharyngeal swab last week and results were expected to be released within this week,” Agbulos said, clarifying that none of them showed symptoms of the killer disease though.
He said because none of the four showed any signs associated with MERS-CoV, they have only been restricted inside their individual homes.
They and their families are also being monitored there by health workers, according to Agbulos.
Last week, a 20-year-old girl from North Cotabato was taken into the DOH custody and was put in isolation at the Cotabato Regional and Medical Center (CRMC) in Cotabato City after she showed symptoms associated with the MERS-CoV.
The girl, whom authorities did not identify under the health protocol, returned to the country on February 6 from Jordan where she worked as a domestic helper.
Jordan is among countries in or near the Arabian Peninsula, where cases of MERS-CoV have been reported since 2012. The others were Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, Yemen, Lebanon and Iran.
The girl went for medical checkup at her town’s health center after she suffered fever and cough.
She was then sent to the CRMC, where she has been in isolation since February 12. Samples from her were also taken and sent to the RITM.
MERS-CoV’s incubation period is usually 5-6 days but can also range from 2-14 days and patients initially show mild symptoms akin to colds or no symptoms at all, according to the US Center for Disease Control.
The CDC further said that “3-4 out of every 10 people reported with MERS have died.”
However, it said that most of those who died “had an underlying medical condition” such as diabetes, cancer and chronic lung, heart, and kidney diseases.
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