The Republic of the Philippines Department of Health yesterday (February 11) announced the country’s first imported case of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infection: a nurse who returned to the Philippines from Saudi Arabia earlier this month, Reuters reported.
The Philippines join Austria, the U.S., and a handful of other countries in which people who visited the Middle East later tested positive for the virus. “A small number of exported cases have been reported in travelers,” the World Health Organization (WHO) said in a February 5 statement.
Meanwhile, the WHO this week announced 10 additional MERS-CoV cases in Saudi Arabia, including one death, plus another case in Qatar. Worldwide, the WHO has counted 975 laboratory-confirmed cases of MERS-CoV infection to date, including at least 358 related deaths.
Last week (February 5), the agency convened the eighth meeting of an emergency committee to assess the MERS-CoV threat. The committee noted that as sporadic clusters of cases continue to be reported—predominantly in Saudi Arabia, where the virus was first detected in humans in September 2012—there remains no evidence of sustained human-to-human transmission.