MANILA, PHILIPPINES – The Department of Labor and Employment yesterday reported that no OFW has been afflicted with the illness caused by the MERS corona virus.
Labor and Employment Sec. Rosalinda Baldoz said this was based on the report of the various Philippine Overseas Labor Offices consolidated by the International Labor Affairs Bureau (ILAB) headed by Director Saul De Vries.
The ILAB said that…[pq]…no cases of any OFW afflicted of the disease from the 26,621 OFWs returning to the country from April-June 2014 recorded by the 33 POLOs around the world.[/pq]
“It is a relief to know that there are no more MERS-COV-related cases among our OFWs,” Baldoz said in a statement.
The so-called Middle East Respiratory Syndrome is a severe pneumonia-like respiratory disease caused by a virus. It is different from SARS because MERS is caused by another subtype of the virus.
MERS is known as an atypical pneumonia because it is not caused by the usual bacteria or viruses.
Pneumonia generally refers to an inflammation of the air sacs of the lungs caused by an infection or chemical. With pneumonia, the lungs fill with fluid, which interferes with their ability to transfer oxygen to the blood.
The infection is thought to be spread by close contact with an infected person.
A virus called coronavirus is the cause of MERS.
There are many kinds of coronavirus, some of which cause the common cold. The MERS corona virus was a new variant that was discovered in 2012 in the Middle East region.
Earlier this year, two OFWs from Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi,United Arab Emirates died after having been afflicted with the disease.
To counter the spread of the dreaded disease, the DoLE established a Daily Monitoring System where all POLOs were required to submit information on returning OFWs and on overseas employment certificates issued at the Posts since March 2014.
The DoLE also sent advisories on precautionary measures on how to prevent the spread of the virus.[pq]The World Health Organization has recorded 699 laboratory-confirmed cases of MERS-CoV worldwide, including at least 209 deaths.[/pq]
With this, Baldoz revealed that the government has created an inter-agency task force for the management of emerging infectious diseases in the country.
She added that one of the objectives of the task force is to educate the public on EID and its prevention, control, and management to promote positive health behaviors, and address public fear and anxiety through the conduct of a nationwide awareness campaign.
“The DoLE, as a member of the task force, is doing its share of establishing preparedness and efficient response to assess, monitor, contain, control, and prevent any potential outbreak of potential epidemic in the country,” the lady Labor chief added.
The group would be headed by the Department of Health, along with the Departments of Foreign Affairs; Interior and Local Government; Justice; Tourism; and Transportation and Communications as member-agencies.
“The international proliferation of these diseases persists due to increased globalization and mobility of travelers and products, and thus, threatens the lives and safety of Filipinos both here and abroad, as well as the Philippine economy in general,” said Executive Order 168, signed by President Aquino last May 26, which created the inter-agency task force.
– DFF, Medical Observer