Gov’t confirms 3rd Pinoy fatality from Mers-CoV

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Thursday, May 8, 2014

A 45-YEAR-OLD Filipina nurse in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia died of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome – Coronavirus (Mers-CoV), an Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) official confirmed Thursday.

"Our welfare officer from Riyadh has already confirmed the case," said OWWA Administrator Carmelita Dimzon in a phone interview.

The latest death is the third Filipino to perish from the disease.

She added that the OFW is an OWWA member and her family stand to receive death benefits, livelihood assistance, and scholarship.

Dimzon also said that if her remains will be repatriated, OWWA is also prepared to provide assistance.

Earlier in the day, reports came out that a Filipina nurse had died from Mers-CoV while confined at the King Fahd Medical City in Saudi Arabia. The hospital director informed the Filipina nurse's husband that his wife succumbed to the Mers-CoV.

With her death, the report quoted the husband as saying he only wants her remains be sent back to Negros Occidental.

Department of Health (DOH) Emerging Infectious Diseases Program Manager Dr. Lyndon Lee Suy said that while there is nothing wrong with bringing home the Filipina nurse's body, it is important to observe strict guidelines in repatriating remains of Mers-CoV victims.

He said there are only two ways to bring home remains of Mers-CoV victims: cremation or placing it inside a hermetically-sealed coffin.

"Namamatay na nga dapat ang virus after mamatay ang host…pero hanggang ngayon, yung virus talagang hindi pa maayos ang profile nito e," said Lee Suy.

The repatriation guidelines for the remains, Lee Suy noted, are similar to the one they used when the severe acute respiratory syndrome was first discovered in 2003. (HDT/Sunnex)

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