9 undergo tests for MERS-CoV in Batangas

by Arnell Ozaeta, ABS-CBN News Southern Tagalog

Posted at Apr 21 2014 06:07 PM | Updated as of Apr 22 2014 02:07 AM

BATANGAS – Health officials in Batangas province are still monitoring 7 people exposed to a person who carried the suspected Middle East Respiratory Syndrome-Corona Virus (MERS-CoV).

Dr. Ramoncito Magnaye, medical director of Batangas Medical Center, on Monday said 2 other people were released from quarantine after they tested negative for the virus.

Magnaye said the 7 remaining patients are under quarantine while waiting for their laboratory test results from Philippines' Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM)

"Masisigla naman sila maliban lamang sa isa na medyo may lagnat at ubo. We are treating them symptomatically for flu, coughm and other symptoms they might have,” Magnaye said.

He did not divulge the names of the patients.

Meanwhile, health workers who were tracking down the other passengers of Etihad Airways flight number EY 0424 living in Batangas were accompanied by the police as some patients refused to undergo medical check-up.

The MERS-CoV is considered a more fatal but less transmissible cousin of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) virus that spread in Asia in 2003, the Department of Health (DOH) said.

“The usual incubation period is two weeks, but if the lab tests return negative, we can already send them home,” Magnaye added.

The nine people who underwent tests are among the 400 passengers who shared an Etihad Airways flight with a nurse who was initially believed to have been infected with the virus.

Dr. Lyndon Leesuy of DOH, however, assured the public that the Philippines remains free from MERS-CoV.

Leesuy urged the other passengers of Etihad Airways Flight EY 0424 to have themselves checked as a precaution.