MERS-CoV enters Philippines as foreigner tests positive

The Philippines is no longer free of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) after a patient was tested positive.

According to the Department of Health (DOH), a male foreigner who traveled from the Middle East is currently under treatment and being isolated at the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM).

Health Secretary Janette Garin said Monday that the patient developed the MERS symptoms—cough and fever—on Thursday, July 2.

On Saturday, July 4, he was tested around 11:30 a.m. and a positive result was determined by 5 p.m. on same day.

The DOH said eight other people who had close contacts with the patient were identified, one of whom is also in isolation.

MERS-CoV is a viral and deadly respiratory illness. Its symptoms are fever, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, coughing.

Other possible symptoms are diarrhea and kidney failure.

Based on the tips posted on a government website, you can prevent getting MERS-CoV by:
  • Washing your hands often with soap and water.
  • Covering your nose and mouth with tissue paper when you cough or sneeze. Dispose used tissue paper immediately and properly.
  • Avoiding touching your face—especially the eye area, nose, and mouth—with unwashed hands.
  • Regularly cleaning frequently touched surfaces (e.g. door knobs, handles).
  • Avoiding close contact with people who have tested positive for MERS-CoV.

The DOH 24-hour hotlines are 711-1001 and 711-1002.