MANILA (UPDATE) - A patient with suspected Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) was brought to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine in Muntinlupa on Wednesday, a Department of Health official said, adding that the situation is under control.
The patient is a 47-year-old man who arrived in the Philippines last Feb. 14 from Saudi Arabia, Health Chief Francisco Duque III said.
He was first rushed to the Laguna Doctors Hospital and immediately transferred to RITM, said DOH-Calabarzon director Dr. Edgardo Janairo.
"Under control [ang sitwasyon] in such a way na iyung nag-iisang pasyente ay on the way na para sa isolation sa RITM," Janairo told radio DZMM.
(The situation is under control in such a way that the lone patient is already on the way to RITM for isolation.)
Rumors earlier claimed that a patient has died of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), which Janairo denied.
Both SARS and MERS-CoV are contagious respiratory diseases, with the former originating in Hong Kong and China, and the latter in the Middle East, said Janairo.
"Binabantayan natin. Wala naman tayong SARS o MERS‐CoV sa Pilipinas. 'Pag iyan ang kumalat, mahirap na kontrolin," he said.
(We are monitoring it. We don't have SARS or MERS‐CoV cases in the Philippines. It would be difficult to control if it spreads.)
The emergency room of the Laguna Doctors Hospital, where the suspected MERS-CoV patient was first rushed, was temporarily closed for decontamination, said Janairo.
The emergency room is located away from the main entrance so those visiting the hospital should not be wary, he said.
Those who interacted with the patient were required to undergo isolation in their houses. They will be brought to the RITM if they experience symptoms in 21 to 28 days, he added.
MERS-CoV symptoms include fever with cough, sore throat, nasal congestion, or difficulty of breathing. Other accompanying symptoms are fatigue, headache, chills, vomiting, or diarrhea, according to the health department.
Janaire advised the public to wear face masks to avoid catching respiratory diseases that are currently seeing a spike in cases.
-with a report from Raphael Bosano, ABS-CBN News