Four Filipino nurses in Saudi Arabia are infected with the deadly MERS Coronavirus, the Department of Foreign Affairs said Monday.
Foreign Affairs spokesman Charles Jose said the Filipinos – three females and one male - work in the same hospital and have been exposed to MERS-COV patients in the course of their work.
“Our embassy was assured by the hospital management that they were given the best treatment possible,” Jose said.
Jose declined to provide their identities, but said the male worker is 55 years old and the three others are aged 29, 32 and 50.
Two female nurses are currently in the Intensive Care Unit and according to Jose, the level of infection is likely to be in the advanced stage.
“We were assured that they will be given the best treatment. Many have recovered from MERS because they were given immediate treatment,” he said.
The other Filipino is in isolation and another one is placed under observation, he added.
Symptoms of MERS-COV, according to the World Health Organization, include fever, cough, shortness of breath and even diarrhea.
Hundreds of Filipino health workers are scattered in hospitals across the Middle East, making them vulnerable to acquiring the virus.
The Philippines is not imposing any travel restrictions to and from the Arabian Peninsula, but has called on Filipinos in the Middle East to exercise vigilance and practice health precautions for their own protection.
“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.
Since 2013, a total of 10 Filipinos, eight from Saudi and two from the United Arab Emirates, have died from contracting the virus, which is prevalent in the Middle East. — RSJ, GMA News