The Department of Health (DOH) said on Sunday that only two patients are now under close watch for possible Middle East Respiratory Syndrome-Corona Virus MERS-CoV) at the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) in Alabang, Muntinlupa City.
“We are glad to announce that only two patients are actually staying in the RITM, including the index case patient (the 32-year-old Filipina nurse who was first confirmed positive with MERSCoV),” acting DOH Secretary Janette L. Garin said in a press briefing held at the DOH Media Relations Unit in Tayuman, Sta. Cruz, Manila.
She said the other patient was classified as “patient under investigation” (PUI) wherein symptoms of MERS-CoV were identified but not considered as very severe case and, upon careful discretion of RITM experts, recommended to be isolated for further evaluation and monitoring.
“A patient under investigation is not really under severe condition… But since symptoms were present and history of travel or close contact with persons who had MERS-CoV was identified in the patient, the doctors decided to isolate and observe the patient further,” Garin explained.
Among the symptoms of MERS-CoV are cough, difficulty of breathing, occurrence of diarrhea, and fever with temperature higher than 38 degrees Celsius.
To be classified as index (confirmed MERS-CoV) patient and PUI patient, the patient must have come from the Arab Peninsula (Middle East Region) wherein he or she possibly had close contact with people with MERS-CoV.
Dr. Garin also said that the 11 patients at RITM, who were earlier traced to have contact with the index patient during the time that she exhibited MERS-CoV symptoms, yielded negative results in the second round of test.
“However, the experts decided that one patient should not be discharged yet due to the X-ray results,” she added.
According to Garin, a home quarantine-recommendation will be ongoing for those who have close contact with the index patient until Feb. 24 to ensure their safety as well as that of their family. PNA