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Traveler from Middle East quarantined after testing positive for MERS virus

Updated: 2015-07-07 07:41
By Agencies in Manila (China Daily)

A 36-year-old foreigner who arrived in the Philippines from the Middle East is under quarantine after testing positive for the MERS virus, health officials said on Monday.

Philippine Health Secretary Janette Garin said several people the traveler had come in close contact with have been traced. She said one of them, a Filipino woman exhibiting mild symptoms, had been isolated while awaiting her test results.

At least seven other people who had close contact with the patient were under home quarantine.

The patient's home country was not immediately disclosed.

It's the second confirmed case of Middle East respiratory syndrome in the Philippines. In February, a Filipino nurse tested positive for MERS after arriving home from Saudi Arabia. She was cleared of the virus the same month.

In the latest case, the infected traveler arrived in the Philippines on June 19 from Saudi Arabia, but also had stayed in Dubai. He left on a second trip while not yet exhibiting any symptoms and came back to the Philippines, officials aid. The man's other destination was not disclosed.

Traveler from Middle East quarantined after testing positive for MERS virus

The man developed a fever and cough on June 30, the health department said. He sought medical care on Thursday, tested positive for the MERS virus on Saturday and was transferred to the government's Research Institute for Tropical Medicine.

Garin said around 200 passengers who were on the patient's second flight were being traced.

Lyndon Lee-Suy, the health department spokesman, said 19 other close contacts also were being traced.

President Benigno Aquino III has asked the health department to tighten surveillance and quarantine measures at ports of entry and to ensure prompt reporting by all patients who show symptoms of the virus, spokesman Herminio Coloma said.

MERS has killed 33 people in South Korea, where 186 cases have been confirmed, according to the World Health Organization. It is the biggest outbreak outside the Middle East region, where the virus was first seen in 2012 in Saudi Arabia.


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