2 suspected MERS-CoV carriers test negative of disease

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/20 February) — The overseas worker from this city and visiting flight attendant who were earlier quarantined due to suspected Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infection have tested negative of the disease, a health official here said.

Dr. Mely Lastimoso, epidemiology and surveillance head of the City Health Office (CHO), said Friday the two patients have been cleared of possible infection with the deadly virus based on test results on their swab samples.

She said the two have fully recovered from the suspected symptoms of MERS-CoV and were recommended for release from quarantine.

“They’re okay now and they don’t have any (suspected) signs and symptoms of the virus. So they may now go home,” she said in an interview over TV Patrol Socksargen.

MERS-CoV is a highly fatal, influenza-like illness characterized by fever, cough, and often with diarrhea.

The two, who recently arrived from the Middle East, were earlier placed on hospital quarantine after exhibiting suspected symptoms of MERS-CoV.

The OFW, who is a female domestic helper, was brought to the Cotabato Regional Medical Center (CRMC) in Cotabato City while the flight attendant was confined in a private hospital here.

The CRMC had been designated by the Department of Health as the main isolation and treatment facility in Region 12 for suspected cases of MERS-CoV and other emerging infectious diseases.

With the release of the negative test results on the two patients, Lastimoso said the city has remained free of MERS-CoV.

She said they have continued their intensified monitoring against the disease to prevent its possible entry and spread in the area.

The official said they maintain close coordination with city airport personnel to ensure immediate detection of potential MERS-CoV cases, especially among returning Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and other residents who had history of travel to the Middle East.

“Summer is already approaching and we expect that more OFWs will be coming home so we really need to step up our monitoring,” she said.

Lastimoso urged returning OFWs and their relatives to immediately submit themselves to quarantine and testing should they exhibit suspected signs and symptoms of the disease.

She added that all returning OFWs from countries affected by MERS-CoV must be observed and examined within 14 days of their arrival in the country. (MindaNews)