2 of 5 Zamboangueños from Saudi plane with positive MERS-CoV case traced

ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews/13 February)–-The City Health Office has already located, through the conduct of contact tracing, two of the five residents of this city who arrived in the country together with a Filipina nurse tested positive with Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Corona Virus (MERS-CoV), the first such case in the country.

The nurse who tested positive for MERS-CoV arrived aboard Saudi flight 860 last February 1 from Saudi Arabia where the disease, which is a viral respiratory illness, was first reported in 2012.

Dr. Rodelin Agbulos, City Health Officer, said Friday those who were located in the conduct of contact tracing were all males aged one and 28, whose identities were withheld.

“They are relatives,” Agbulos added.

Agbulos said they have already taken the swab samples from the two and were sent to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine of the Department of Health (DOH) in Manila for laboratory analysis.

Dr. Nimfa Torrizo, DOH regional director, said the laboratory analysis is expected to be known within 48 hours.

Torrizo said they will be admitted at the Zamboanga City Medical Center for treatment once they will be found positive for MERS-CoV.

The other three individuals who are still to be located consist of females aged 25, 32 and 41.

“[A] communication from the national epidemiology center of the DOH revealed that we have five from Zamboanga City aboard Saudi Flight 860,” Torrizo said.

Agbulos disclosed they have yet to locate the whereabouts of the other three, one of whom reportedly travelled to Jolo, Sulu.

He said the two others cannot be located in their respective homes since their families have relocated at the height of the 21-day September 2013 siege in this city.

“One of them is from the conflict zone,” Agbulos said, adding that the house of the other one is closed and is believed to be already unoccupied.

MERS-CoV is a viral respiratory illness first reported in 2012 in Saudi Arabia. Its signs and symptoms include cough, fever, shortness of breath and diarrhea. (MindaNews)