In a press release that left me scratching my head this morning, the Philippines Department of Health said (computer translated) report an overseas Filipino worker (OFW) who returned after being in China for 6 years has died of possible bird flu.

Image/Philippines DOH Facebook page
Image/Philippines DOH Facebook page

Health officials note that the patient arrived on Feb. 9, presented with symptoms of cough and fever the next day and died on Feb. 14–9 days ago. The press statement continues:

Because the symptoms displayed alongside the rapid progression of the disease plus the history of travel from China coupled with a history of being exposed to live poultry, the patient was considered a possible case of Avian Flu or Bird Flu.

This patient was initially referred to as a possible case of MERS. However, upon review of his case profile, Avian Flu was a more proximate consideration.

Close contacts to the deceased were given prophylactic Tamiflu. Biopsy was taken and initial results revealed pulmonary but inconclusive findings. The body was cremated hence this case has been declared ‘closed’.

“If indeed this patient contracted bird flu, his death has ended other possibility of transmission,” the statement said.

With the increase in international arrivals, the Department of Health is appealing to Filipinos around the world to be mindful of their families and their communities. While the Department of Health, Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ), the Disease Prevention and Control Bureau, and the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine are actively coordinating public health actions, the responsibility of each person is important.

Please fill-up the health declaration truthfully checklist upon arrival. BOQ inform the staff if you have had symptoms while traveling. Volunteer your travel history to your physician. Effective control of infectious diseases in the Philippines require every person to do their share of responsibility by being cooperative, honest, and mindful. “Let us play a role here,” Acting DOH Secretary Janette Garin concluded.