MANILA, Feb. 13, 2015 – Philippine government authorities need to do “contact-tracing” to avert a possible outbreak of the feared MERS –Corona Virus after a Filipina nurse contracted the virus, says former Health undersecretary Dr. Teodoro Herbosa.
In an exclusive interview with CBCPNews, Herbosa, who recently resigned form his post with the Department of Health (DOH), said the government needs to trace people the nurse got in contact with when she developed symptoms and consulted a local hospital prior to her referral to the government-run Research Institute for Tropical Medicine in the outskirts of Manila.
“Aside from her immediate family, all patients in the emergency room, all health personnel from nurses to doctors who attended to her ought to be monitored and tested,” Herbosa said.
He added all the passengers and crew of the Saudia Airlines the nurse and her husband took to Manila need not be tested. They should only submit themselves to tests if and when they develop symptoms.
He explained the tests do not come cheap as they cost about Php 5,000 for every administration of the procedure known as Polymerase Chain Reaction, a confirmatory test for MERS-Corona Virus.
Herbosa said while a patient afflicted with Ebola could affect two other persons, MERS-COV could easily affect eight to 16 individuals who could get infected by the virus through cough and body fluids.
He added it is more deadly than Ebola because it affects both one’s lungs and kidneys.
A quarantine period of 14 days is necessary for people who may have symptoms. (Melo M. Acuña/CBCPNews)