A Filipina nurse coming home from the Middle East has been tested positive of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV).
The 32-year-old nurse who arrived from Saudi Arabia February 1 is the Philippines’ first positive case of the deadly virus, according to the Department of Health (DOH). She traveled with her husband from Riyadh and was immediately brought to Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) in Muntinlupa City after seeing signs of MERS-CoV.
Health officials are also tracking down the other 224 passengers who shared the same flight as the afflicted overseas Filipino worker (OFW). They took Saudi Airlines flight SV860 from Riyadh.
The DOH said the risk of transmission over the duration of flight was low as the patient showed no symptoms of the virus while airborne. However, it appealed to other passengers to have themselves tested for swab examination as precaution.
The virus, considered more deadly but less-transmissable mutation of the SARS virus, carry similar symptoms as that of common flu such as fever and cough, colds and sneezing, and has an incubation period of 14 days.
According to acting Health Secretary Janette Garin, the woman is also four to five weeks pregnant, something that doctors are having difficulty treating her. Garin noted the Filipina no longer has a fever, but still has MERS-CoV.