Cagayan de Oro City: The Department of Health Regional Office X today (April 23, 2014) confirmed that the four (4) passengers of Etihad Airways 424 from Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates who arrived in Northern Mindanao last week tested negative for the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome – Corona Virus (MERS-COV). They were discharged from the isolation rooms at the designated hospitals.
The office is still awaiting the result of test on another one who is still on isolation in a government hospital.
It can be recalled last week that a Filipino has boarded Etihad Flight 424 from Abu Dhabi with a positive result on MERS-COV which possibly endangered the other passengers aboard who have close contact. The said passenger however tested negative upon screening by the Department of Health on arrival.
The five (5) passengers bound for Northern Mindanao who were ordered isolated by DOH was traced immediately last week (Holy Week) after the DOH-Regional Office X responded quickly to avert a possible spread of the deadly Middle East Respiratory Syndrome-Corona Virus (MERS-COV).
Through the Regional Epidemiology, Surveillance and Disaster Response Unit (RESDRU), DOH-RO X traced the five (5) passengers bound for Northern Mindanao and effectively isolated in government hospitals. Samples were sent immediately to the Research Institute of Tropical Medicine (RITM) for testing with the result coming in late yesterday (April 22) after forty eight (48) hours.
MERS-COV is viral respiratory illness first reported in Saudi Arabia in April 2012. Most people who have been confirmed to have MeRS-CoV infection developed severe acute respiratory illness. So far there have been Two Hundred Forty Three (243) confirm cases in eleven (11) countries with Ninety Three (93) deaths or a case fatality rate of Thirty Eight (38) percent.
The mode of transmission is through close person-to-person contact via airborne droplets when coughing or sneezing. Incubation period is ten (10) to fourteen (14) days.
Health authorities though are positive that we can contain the virus through the tested preventive measures such frequent hand washing, proper cough manners and avoiding contacts with those with history of travel to and from the affected countries.