Wednesday, April 16, 2014

MERS Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) Frequently Asked Questions

What is MERS Coronavirus (MERS-CoV)?
---Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) is a ciral respiratory illness caused by a coronavirus called "Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronovirus" (MERS-CoV)
---The earliest MERS-CoV was first reported in April 2012 in Saudi Arabia
---It is not the same virus that causes the Severe Respiratory Syndromes (SARS). However, like the SARS virus, MERS-CoV is most similar to coronavirus found in bats.
---Recent studies have shown that MERS-CoV was detected in camels and one infected camel case had been linked to human case. The route of infection remains unknown.

Where are MERS-CoV infections occuring?
---Twelve countries have now reported cases of human infection of MERS-CoV. Most of the cases are coming from the Middle East.

What are its Signs and Symptoms?
---Acute, serious repiratory illness with fever, cough, shortness of breath, and difficuty in breathing. Some may present with gastrointestinal symptoms, including diarrhea and some with kidney failure.
---People with immune defeciencies may have an atypical presentation. noypistuff
---Asymptomatic illness has been reported.

How To Prevent Mers-CoV?
---Observe proper handwashing
---Cover Nose and mouth when sneezing and coughing using handkerchief and tissue.

Does MERS Coronavirus spread from person to person?
--- MERS-CoV has been shown to spread between people who are n close contact.
---Transmission from infected patients to healthcare personnel has also been observed
---Clusters have been observed in healthcare facilities, among family members and between co-workers. It is important that healthcare workers apply standard precautions consistently with all patients, regardless of their diagnosis, in all work practices all the time.

Is there a travel ban to countries in the Arabian Peninsula or neighboring countries where MERS cases have occured?
---The World Health Organization has not issued travel health warnings for any country with reported Mers-CoV cases.

What to do if one resides in any of affected countries or one has recently traveled to countries in the Arabian Peninsula or neighboring countries and got sick?
---If you develop a fever and symptoms of lower respiratory illness, such as cough or shortness of breath after a known exposure within 14 days to a seriously sick patient with compatible signs and symptoms, or within 14 days after traveling from the said countries, you should see your healthcare provider and mention your recent exposure or travel.

Are there available treatments for MERS Coronavirus?
---There are no specific treatments for illness caused by MERS-CoV.
---Medical care is supportive and to help relieve symptoms.

Is there a laboratory test for this disease?
---Yes, a laboratory test called polymerasechain reactin or PCR is available in affected countries and in the Philippines through the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine. FULL STORY...

Monday, April 14, 2014

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV DOH Update)

The Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) is a highly fatal respiratory illness presenting as an influenza-like illness characterized by fever, cough and often with diarrhea. There is limited data on its transmission but possibly through direct contact of household members and health care providers exposed to confirmed cases. Source and transmission data remain limited though. The diagnosis is made through serology and/or DNA tests and the treatment remains supportive.

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus
As of April 13, 2014, the World Health Organization (WHO) has reported a total of 228 laboratory-confirmed cases of MERS-CoV infections with 92 deaths from 10 countries, mostly from Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

Last April 11, 2014, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Ministry of Interior reported the death of an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) allegedly due to MERS-CoV.

While the WHO Country Office in Manila has yet to confirm this case, the Philippine Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates Grace Relucio-Princesa has received confirmation from National Health Authorities in UAE. The Bureau of Quarantine is already alerted just in case the remains are brought back to the Philippines.

If this case will be confirmed, this will be the second time a Filipino died of MERS-CoV in the Middle East. Last August 29, 2013, a 41 year-old Filipina nurse also died of severe MERSCOV infection in an undisclosed hospital facility in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Her embalmed body was repatriated and brought home in a hermetically-sealed coffin for final interment last November 2013 without the need for special precautions.

The Department of Health (DOH) is also verifying the report that five other Filipino workers in Al Ain City in UAE were quarantined after routine contact tracing.

The latest update reported to the DOH through the National Epidemiology Center is that the husband of one of the quarantined OFWs in Al Ain had visited his wife and returned to the Philippines last April 6. The husband is in home quarantine and so far has no signs or symptoms of disease.

The DOH advises any person who presents with severe respiratory illness with history of travel to the Middle East should be tested for the MERS-CoV. These cases are reported to the NEC and the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) confirms the diagnosis. Also, the Bureau of Quarantine continues to screen travelers at the points of entry.

There are no travel restrictions to and from Middle East countries. Filipino travelers to the Middle East are advised to avoid contact with persons with influenza-like illness and should observe frequent hand washing. They must report to any hospital if they become ill within 14 days from arrival and delay visits to crowded places until symptoms disappear. Hospitals were instructed to report to DOH any patient who maybe suspected to have MERS-CoV infection. FULL STORY...

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