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WHO warns over spread of MERS-CoV, urges vigilance

With the recent death of a Filipino health worker in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) from the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome-Corona Virus (MERS-CoV) and the arrival of another infected overseas Filipino worker (OFW) here, the World Health Organization (WHO) urged healthcare facilities and the general public to take precautions to prevent the virus from spreading further.

“Health-care facilities that provide for patients suspected or confirmed to be infected with MERS-CoV should take appropriate measures to decrease the risk of transmission of the virus from an infected patient to other patients, health-care, workers and visitors,” WHO said in an advisory posted on its website Friday.

“It is not always possible to identify patients with MERS-CoV early because some have mild or unusual symptoms. For this reason, it is important that health-care workers apply standard precautions consistently with all patients — regardless of their diagnosis — in all work practices all the time,” it said.

An OFW who arrived in the Philippines on Wednesday from UAE was found to have tested positive for MERS-CoV and was immediately placed in quarantine along with members of his family who picked him up at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

The male health worker was tested by doctors in UAE but left for Manila before the results were released. The Department of Health (DOH) was immediately informed about the patient's test results.

Philippine Health Secretary Enrique Ona previously said that though the OFW showed no symptoms of the virus, they were tracing the people who have had contact with him on the plane to have them tested for MERS-CoV as well.

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