Fear hits Pinoy nurses in Saudi

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Friday, May 9, 2014

AFTER a Negrense nurse in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia died of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome-Corona Virus (Mers-CoV) earlier this week, other Filipino nurses in the area fear for their safety and some of them especially those assigned in emergency units have stopped working.

"They are mourning here," a source said, following the death of the Filipina nurse on Tuesday.

He added: “A friend (in Riyadh) posted on Facebook a photo of a vacated Emergency Unit. They have not reported for duty for they fear for their own safety."


The source, who is also from Negros Occidental and works in Riyadh, requested not to be named because of the sensitivity of the case.

The 45-year-old Filipina nurse died at King Fahd Medical City.

The source said a certain hospital with Mers-CoV patients is offering its nurses an extra pay of 1,000 riyals (P11,000 to P12,000) daily to take care of the patients but there are no takers.

Arab News said that Acting Health Minister Adel Fakeih has appointed a new team to manage King Fahd Hospital in Jeddah, where a spike of Mers-CoV infections among medical staff has sparked public panic.

Fakeih announced the new team on Twitter as he launched an awareness campaign to help stop the spread of the disease, which has killed 117 people in Saudi Arabia as of Wednesday.

In its latest update, the Ministry of Health said Wednesday that the total number of Mers-CoV infections in the kingdom since September 2012 has risen to 431.

The campaign urges people not only to follow strict measures of hygiene, but specifically to avoid sick camels and refrain from eating raw camel meat or drinking unboiled camel milk.

Some researchers think the virus may have been passed on to humans by camels.

The nurse from Negros Occidental died due to renal failure with very low blood pressure which are symptoms of Mers-CoV.

Her husband said he last spoke to his wife over the phone last April 30 when she informed him that she had pneumonia and was put in quarantine for Mers-CoV test.

After two days, he was informed that his wife was transferred to the Intensive Care Unit.

His wife got infected of Mers-CoV by a fellow Filipina nurse she had taken care of in the hospital. The said nurse is already recovering.

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on May 09, 2014.

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