DOH, other agencies prepare for possible entry of MERS-CoV PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 04 October 2014 13:36

The Department of Health (DOH) in the region is taking necessary preventive measurres as roughly 3,000 Filipino pilgrims from Mecca, Saudi Arabia are set to arrive here starting next week.

As the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Corona Virus or MERS-CoV has been spreading in the Middle East virtually uncontrolled, DOH met with various government agencies concerned last Sept. 30 to discuss interim guidelines for the preparedness and response to MERS-CoV. The disease has no known cure yet.

Dr. Venus Fortuna, head of DOH’s Infections Diseases, briefed the agency-participants on their specific roles in response to MERS-CoV, especially that a week from now, Muslim brothers and sisters who performed hajj in Mecca, SA are set to go back home here or in any parts of Region 9 and the ARMM.

DOH is also closely coordinating with hospitals and health workers as part of the health department’s action and preparation in case a suspected infected/contaminated traveler (pilgrim) is noted.

The lady doctor explained, MERS-CoV is a viral respiratory illness first reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012. She said camels are considered the reservoir of the disease though did not elaborate on it.

She said MersCov mimics the symptoms of an ordinary flu and has an incubation period of 14 days.

Most people who have been confirmed to be positive of the disease developed fever, cough and shortness of breath.

So far, MERS-CoV cases have been linked to countries in and near the Arabian Peninsula.

“It is important to have respiratory hygiene, hugas kamay (hand washing),” Dr. Fortuna said.

The disease can be spread through close contact, such as caring for and living with an infected person or via droplets.

“There is no vaccine for MERS-CoV specifically,” the lady doctor said.

It is important that if one has history of travel from the Arabian Peninsula, he/she should immediately submit himself/herself for test and should be isolated to avoid spread of the disease. — FPG/JPA/PIA9f