DOH monitoring Chinese boy who tested positive of unidentified coronavirus

MANILA, Philippines – A boy from China is still being monitored in a hospital in Cebu for testing positive of unidentified coronavirus.
DOH monitoring Chinese boy who tested positive of unidentified coronavirus

DOH monitoring Chinese boy who tested positive of unidentified coronavirus
DOH warns the public to be cautious on coronavirus | Photo Courtesy: DOH

The Department of Health (DOH) has announced that a five-year-old boy who arrived from Wuhan City, China exhibited signs of having respiratory illnesses such as fever, cough and throat irritation prior to entering the Philippines. The boy arrived in Cebu on January 12 with his mother to study English. Wuhan, China is considered the epicenter of cases of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)-like virus.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said in a press briefing on Tuesday that the boy tested positive for non specific pancoronavirus assay. Specimen of the boy was already sent to Melbourne, Australia for further testing and the results can be expected by Thursday, January 23.

The UN's health agency confirmed that there is already an outbreak of a "SARS-like mysterious disease" in Wuhan, China. The disease if from a "never-before-seen" strain belonging to a broad family of viruses ranging from the common cold to more serious illnesses such as SARS.

An alarm has been raised globally as the outbreak might be linked with SARS, which killed 349 people in mainland China and another 299 in Hong Kong in 2002-2003.

Since December 2019, this new coronavirus has killed at least three people and infected more than 200 people in China. It has since spread to Thailand, Japan and South Korea.

Zhong Nanshan, head of the team set up by China's National Health Commission confirmed that the novel coronavirus can be transmitted through humans.

DOH warns the public, health workers

DOH has released a statement advising the public to practice the following to minimize the risk of possible exposure:
  • practice frequent handwashing,
  • avoid unprotected contact with farm or wild animals
  • practice proper cough etiquette – maintain distance and cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or the crook of your elbow
  • avoid close contact with people showing cold or flu-like symptoms, and ensure that food is well-cooked

Health workers are also cautioned to be careful as well. “I encourage the health workers to be vigilant and take extra precautionary measures when in contact with patients with acute respiratory infection, especially those with travel history to China,” Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III said.

Duque added, "I also call on our health facilities to enhance standard infection prevention and control practices, especially in our emergency departments. We must always be ready."

Travelers showing symptoms of respiratory illness, either during or after travel, must seek medical attention immediately.

— Sally, The Summit Express

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