In a follow-up to a story on Sep. 3, a Filipina nurse who was reported to be Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) positive, has ultimately tested negative against the novel virus.
On Wednesday, the Philippines Department of Health (DOH) released the following statement/timeline:
“The Department of Health (DOH) today revealed that a MERSCOV (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus) asymptomatic case from Dammam, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia entered the country last August 29, 2014.
“On August 29, two nurses (CB and AP) from Dammam entered the country via Saudia Airlines. Both were asymptomatic at the time of their entry. However, as a precautionary procedure, a health check was conducted on them on August 25, 2014.
“During their arrival, the nurse (CB) was fetched by 10 relatives, including two grandchildren. The other nurse (AP) stayed with nurse (CB) until her scheduled flight to her home on August 31.
“On September 2, the nurse (CB) and her two grandchildren developed fever. The three of them, together with the other well-wishers, sought consult at the Lung Center of the Philippines and were all eventually tested negative for the disease.
“Previously, health authorities from Saudi Arabia relayed to the nurse (CB) that the test conducted on them in Saudi revealed that she was negative for MERSCOV, while the Nurse (AP) was positive.
“Nurse (CB) informed DOH of this development and provided the DOH information of her companion’s whereabouts. Yesterday, Nurse (AP) was located in South Cotabato and was admitted at the Southern Philippines Medical Center. She was asymptomatic upon admission. Her specimen was sent to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) for further testing and confirmation.”
On Friday, after confirmatory testing by RITM, DOH spokesman, Dr. Lyndon Lee Suy, announced the test came back negative for the MERS virus. “As of now, the Philippines remains to be MERS-CoV-free,” Dr. Lee-Suy, said in a televised press briefing.
Lee Suy said the steps the health department took were consistent with “rumor surveillance” procedures. “Everything starts with a rumor. What if it turned out to be true? It is up to us to validate,” he said. “We don’t consider it a mistake, but a part of process and investigation.” For more infectious disease news and information, visit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page