The Philippine Consulate General in Hong Kong reported the death of a Filipino seafarer who was reportedly afflicted with two infections.
“Consul General Claro Cristobal personally extends his deepest condolences to the bereaved and assures them of the Philippine government’s assistance in the timely return of the deceased to the Philippines,” the Consulate stated.
Agence France Presse reported that Hong Kong health officials initially said that the man died from Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA), a virulent bacteria that has emerged as a major health threat in hospitals around the world.
However, the same report stated that officials found from test results Thursday that the cargo ship crew member was also suffering from A(H1N1) influenza, also known as swine flu.
"He had two infections at the same time," Thomas Tsang, controller of the government's Centre for Health Protection, told reporters. "At this point in time, we cannot rule out that human swine flu may have played a part in his death," he said.
Tsang said the vessel arrived in mainland China with about 20 crew members mostly from the Philippines and Greece. Officials are checking with the Beijing government to track them down, he added.
The Consulate stated that the 42-year-old Filipino from La Union province was onboard a Greek-registered container ship MSC Mykonos that left Hong Kong on June 30. Three days later, he developed fever, cough and chest pains.
When the vessel returned to Hong Kong on July 8, the Filipino was rushed to the Ruttonjee Hospital where he was diagnosed with pneumonia. He was placed under intensive care after he began experiencing respiratory failure.
Two days later, the seafarer died after suffering multiple organ failure. Doctors tried to revive him but to no avail.
“Since 10 July, the Consulate has been working with the manning agency of the deceased for the repatriation of his remains. The Consulate continues to coordinate with health authorities on matters concerning his case,” the PCG said.
Meanwhile, the Consulate advised Filipinos to postpone their travel plans to Hong Kong when they develop flu-like symptoms.
“Those in the territory affected by the spread of the A/H1N1 influenza are encouraged to send a text message or call the Consulate’s 24-hour hotline at 9155-4023,” the Consulate stated.
A total of 1,552 cases of swine flu had been reported in Hong Kong by Thursday afternoon, the health official said. Excluding the seaman's case, five have been classified as serious and are in hospital. With Agence France Presse