Four Filipino nurses in Saudi Arabia infected with MERS-CoV

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The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has confirmed that four Filipino nurses in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia have been infected with the deadly Middle East Respiratory Syndrome-Coronavirus (MERS-CoV).

DFA spokesman Charles Jose said the four Filipino nurses, one male and three females, who are working in the same hospital, were exposed to patients with the disease in the course of their work.

The male nurse is 55 years old, while the female nurses are aged 29, 32 and 50. The hospital management assured DFA that the four are being given the best treatment possible.

GMA News said two of the female nurses are currently in the hospital’s intensive care unit. Charles Jose said the level of their infection is likely to be in the advanced stage.

The other two are in isolation and under observation, respectively. The one under observation barely exhibited MERS-CoV symptoms, Manila Times reported.

“We were assured that they will be given the best treatment. Many have recovered from MERS because they were given immediate treatment,” Jose, who could not yet release the name of the hospital, said.

Manila Times said Jose admitted there could be more Filipino workers infected with the disease because not all cases are being reported to the embassy; saying the Saudi Arabia government would sometime want to keep such cases “under the radar.”

The DFA spokesman believes the infected Filipino nurses could recover, though it would take some time, as long as they receive the right treatment.

The four nurses’ families have been informed by the hospital, according to Jose.

The Philippine government is not imposing a travel ban to the Middle East, the DFA said. Jose called on all Filipinos working in Saudi Arabia to “follow closely the advisory by local health authorities.

“We reiterate our previous advisory to our workers to take extra precaution by attention to their personal hygiene. For those working in hospitals they should strictly follow the infection prevention protocols and for those who experience symptoms to report to the hospital immediately,” Jose said.