Suspect MERS-CoV patient tested negative, going back to Saudi

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 9 Sept) – The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) said the patient that was released by the Southern Philippines Medical Center last Friday for testing negative for Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) would go back to Saudi Arabia.

In an interview after Monday’s Kapehan sa SM, OWWA regional director Eduardo Bellido told reporters that the patient, a 38-year-old nurse, only returned to the country for a vacation and would be returning to the Middle East soon.

Bellido said there would be no more tests for the patient.

“OWWA helped the Department of Health trace the employer and location of the patient as soon as the DOH told us that someone tested positive of MERS-CoV,” Bellido said.

He said they also appealed for all agencies concerned to keep the anonymity of the patient.

The Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) last Friday cleared the nurse from the deadly disease.

Dr. Ricardo Audan, Southern Philippines Medical Center chief of clinics, said in a telephone interview they received the results early Friday morning after sending the throat swab, sputum, and blood samples of the nurse to the RITM last Wednesday.

“We’re already preparing the patient’s discharge forms,” Audan said last week.

The nurse, identified only as “AP” by the Department of Health, made headlines Thursday after reportedly being affected with MERS-CoV, through contact with a patient at the ICU in Saudi Arabia.

The patient had been transported from General Santos to Davao City after initially testing positive at the center there.

The nurse served in Saudi Arabia for seven years, according to Audan.

“We don’t know why the patient was tested positive, since the initial results were from Saudi,” Audan said.

He said the Saudi Ministry of Health immediately contacted the DOH last week of August informing the Philippine agency of the reported case.

Audan said the patient was not a resident of Davao City.

Audan said the MERS-CoV is a tricky virus since the mode of transmission is not clear.