DOH confirms death of Saudi national due to ‘suspected’ MERSCoV

MANILA, Oct. 3 (PNA) — The Department of Health (DOH) confirmed Saturday the death of a 63-year-old male foreign national from Saudi Arabia and classified it as a case of “suspected” MERSCoV (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Corona Virus).

In a press briefing held at DOH media relations unit in Tayuman, Sta. Cruz, Manila, DOH Secretary Janette L. Garin said that while there were signs and symptoms of MERSCoV that was observed in the patient prior to his hospitalization and subsequent death, such “cannot be directly link” to MERSCoV.

“We are considering the case as “probable cause” of MERSCoV,” said Garin.

Records show the patient arrived in the country on Sept. 17, 2015 from Jeddah.

Those who had close contact with the foreign national were not traced because during that time suspicion for MERSCoV is not necessary as the patient condition then is not displaying any signs or symptoms of MERSCoV.

On Sept. 26, the foreign national started to display the signs and symptoms of MERSCoV such cough, high fever, and occasional chills.

He was admitted in an undisclosed private hospital on Sept. 28.

Unfortunately, his condition deteriorated and was pronounced dead on Sept. 29.

Aside from displaying signs and symptoms of MERSCoV, X-ray results of the patient was also suspected as MERSCoV but then no confirmatory test was conducted as there were no samples of sputum that was taken from the patient and subjected them to a confirmatory test for MERSCoV.

In addition, said patient failed to recover due to myocardial infarction or heart attack.

Garin described the case as an “extraordinary one” and said that they will discussed further with the World Health Organization (WHO) in terms of the classification of the cause of death since there is an absence of confirmatory tests for sputum due to the death of the foreign national and the body was already “formalinized” or had formalin.

The health chief added that if a body is already dead and filled with formalin substance samples of sputum cannot be taken for testing.

She added that they are coordinating the matter both to WHO and Embassy of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

To ensure that MERSCoV is still in control, the DOH began contact tracing of the people who had close contact with the foreign national.

Ninety-three of the 97 people who had close contact with him were traced.

These people are those that are located in the hotel were the patient checked-in, those in the private hospital where the patient was admitted and those in the funeral home.

Eighty-one of those located were advised to be home-quarantine while 12 people were admitted and monitored through laboratory tests upon displaying signs and symptoms of MERSCoV.

So far, on the sputum samples test, the patients yielded negative.

However, the DOH will still conduct more tests to ensure that the said patients will be MERSCoV free in case they will exhibit positive results in the succeeding tests until the 14-day incubation period is not yet over.(PNA)