Pinay nurse from Saudi Arabia tested negative for Mers-Cov

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Friday, September 5, 2014

THE Filipino nurse who initially tested positive for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome–Coronavirus (Mers-Cov) in Saudi Arabia was found negative of the disease in the country, health officials said Friday.

In a press briefing, Department of Health (DOH) spokesperson Dr. Lyndon Lee Suy said they have been told that the confirmatory tests done with the patient, identified only as nurse "AP", came out with her being negative of Mers-Cov.

"The good news is it is negative. Negative ang ating resulta dun sa index case na ni-report sa atin na positive for Mers-Cov," said Lee Suy.

Aside from the results of the confirmatory tests done by the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM), the health official said they have also been told by the Saudi Arabia-based hospital, where nurse "AP" was first tested, that she is actually negative of the virus.

"At the very beginning, we found out that she has been negative of Mers-Cov. Kahapon pa namin nalaman yung sa Saudi. But, of course, to avoid confusion, we waited for the result of the RITM para sure. It turns out, all are negative," said Lee Suy.

He said nurse "AP", as well as her relatives, are already up for discharge from the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) in Davao City after they were confined there due to initial reports of being Mers-Cov positive.

The health official, however, dispelled impressions that the DOH or the Saudi hospital erred in reporting that "AP" is positive of the Mers-Cov.

Lee Suy said that the DOH acted only as part of their "rumor surveillance" procedures after nurse "CB", who arrived in the country with "AP", called them regarding the findings of the tests done to them prior to their departure from Dammam, Saudi Arabia.

"There's no way to prevent rumor surveillance. Everything starts with a rumor. What if it turned out to be true? It is up to us to validate. We don't consider it a mistake, but a part of process and investigation," said Lee Suy.

Earlier, nurse "CB" called the DOH regarding the test results of "AP" after the former was informed by their nurse supervisor in the Saudi hospital that her companion is positive of Mers-Cov.

This resulted to the DOH contacting nurse "AP" and having she and her relatives brought to the SPMC from their hometown in General Santos City.

"It is actually a good thing that the public is reporting. We see this as being a pro-active response," said Lee Suy.

And with the finding, the health official said they have already ordered the ceasing of the contact tracing that they are doing for passengers of Saudia Airlines Flight SV870 and Cebu Pacific Flight SJ997.

He said this is because there is no more reason for the government to exert time, effort and finances in finding since the patient has been found to be negative from the start.

"When there is a negative case, there is no more cause to transmit. So, all our activities on contact-tracing, looking for those who boarded the same flight with two Filipinos, will be terminated," said Lee Suy.

On Wednesday, the DOH announced the conduct of contact tracing of all the 249 passengers of Flight SV870, which brought home nurses "AP" and "CB" from Dammam, Saudi Arabia.

Similarly, the DOH is also contacting all the 143 passengers of the Cebu Pacific Flight SJ997 that flew with "AP" from Manila to General Santos City.

Lee Suy said that since they began contact tracing, they have already contacted and tested a total of 80 passengers.

"Currently, all of the tests we have done so far, the results were negative," said Lee Suy. (HDT/Sunnex)

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