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Foreigner in PH tests positive for MERS

By: - Reporter / @mj_uyINQ
, / 12:39 PM July 06, 2015

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A 36-year-old foreigner visiting Manila has tested positive for the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), according to Health Secretary Janette Garin.

At a press conference, Garin disclosed that the patient, now confined at the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM), came from Dubai late last month and had a short layover in Saudi Arabia, where MERS was first identified in April 2012.

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The patient also traveled to an undisclosed country during the 14-day incubation period since he arrived from the Middle East last month.

The foreigner developed fever and cough on July 2, the 12th day of the incubation period, and sought medical attention at an undisclosed private hospital. He was transferred immediately to the RITM on Saturday when tests yielded positive for MERS.

“The patient is currently under close observation at the RITM. He is stable and very cooperative,” said Garin. “Tests also show that his viral load is low, which means that the MERS virus in his body is low and he is possibly recovering from the disease,” she added.

One of the patient’s close contact, a Filipina, was also confined at the RITM on Saturday for showing symptoms of the disease.

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Garin said the DOH has mobilized Task Force MERS-CoV (corona virus) to get in touch with the roughly 200 passengers of the latest flight the patient took as a precautionary measure. At least seven people who had close contact with the patient are already on home quarantine, said the health chief.

The DOH advised the public to immediately go to the nearest hospital if they develop symptoms of MERS, similar to the common flu, after travel to the Middle East or South Korea. The public was also advised to get enough rest and eat a balanced diet to boost their immune system.

“There is no reason to panic. What is important now is for us to continue practicing proper hygiene, having adequate rest, balanced diet, all leading to a good resistance,” said Garin.  AJH

 Originally posted at 10:19 a.m., July 6, 2015

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TAGS: disease, DoH, Health, MERS, MERS-CoV, RITM
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