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DOH monitoring suspected MERS case in Laguna

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Health (DOH) is monitoring a patient from Laguna suspected of having the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) virus, DOH Undersecretary Eric Domingo said on Wednesday, February 20.

Domingo confirmed this in a text message to Rappler. He said: “There is one suspected case under investigation. From Laguna then brought to the RITM [Research Institute for Tropical Medicine].”

Domingo said DOH was still waiting for the results of the lab tests to confirm if the patient was indeed infected with the virus. 

MERS is an illness caused by a virus called the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV). Symptoms include include fever, cough and shortness of breath.

According to the World Health Organization, MERS does not “pass easily” from person to person unless there is close contact. For instance, the virus may be passed through caring for or living with an infected person.

The United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention also said MERS likely spreads from an infected person’s respiratory secretions, such as through coughing.

Reports of the suspected case surfaced after the Laguna Doctors Hospital said it carried out a thorough cleaning of its emergency room due to a patient suspected to be afflicted with the disease. The hospital, though, initially said there was no confirmed case of any contagious illness.

The suspected MERS case comes as the DOH is currently focused on containing a measles outbreak in several regions in the country. Among the regions with the highest number of cases is Calabarzon, where the province of Laguna is located. – Rappler.com

Sofia Tomacruz

Sofia Tomacruz covers foreign affairs, the overseas Filipino workers, and elections. She also writes stories on the treatment of women and children. Follow her on Twitter @sofiatomacruz. Email her at sofia.tomacruz@rappler.com.

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