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Sick peacekeeper, still being tested for Ebola

  • Written by Lee Ann P. Ducusin & Mia B. Billones
  • Published in Top Stories

THE Department of Health yesterday assured the public there is no case of Ebola yet in the Philippines, although a member of the peacekeepers team from Liberia have developed fever.
   
Acting Health Secretary Janette Loreto-Garin said the peacekeeper developed fever, chills and body malaise yesterday morning and he was tested for Ebola but they are still awaiting the results.
   
“Kaninang umaga, may isa tayong peacekeeper na nagkaroon ng lagnat. One of our peacekeepers developed fever, chills and body malaise. Dahil nanggaling sya sa Liberia, we are testing him for Ebola,” she said.
   
Garin noted that the peacekeeper previously had malaria so his fever could also be caused by malaria.
   
“Pero inuulit ko po, hindi porket galing ka sa Liberia, Sierra Leone o Guinea ay meron kang Ebola. Ang testing ay bahagi ng routine protocol. Ipinapakita po ng sitwasyong ito ang kahalagahan ng 21-day quarantine. Ang pasyenteng ito ay dati nang nagkaroon ng malaria. May posibilidad na bumalik yung kanyang malaria o kaya naman ay hindi ito nagamot nang maayos,” she said.
   
The peacekeeper, whose identity was withheld, will be brought to the Research Institute for Tropical Disease in Muntinlupa City where he will go under further tests to check for symptoms of the Ebola virus disease.
   
Garin said the patient is being transferred to a hospital to be sure that he has not contracted Ebola and to review the malaria treatment he had before.

The results is expected to be released within 24 hours.
   
Garin further assured that medical workers who will treat the peacekeeper do not need to don the Personal Protective Equipment since he only has fever and there is no body secretions such as vomit, urine or feces containing the virus yet.
   
“Nakakahawa lang po ang Ebola kung may mga sintomas na ang pasyente. Ebola is not airborne. While contagious, it is not an easy virus to catch,” she said.
   
However, Garin was quick to insist that there is no confirmed case of Ebola in the Philippines yet.
   
The official also appealed to the public to respect the privacy of the patient and his family.
   
“Labanan po natin ang stigma. Kooperasyon ng bawat isa ay kailangan,” she urged.
   
The l33 peacekeepers arrived from Liberia last Wednesday  and were brought to Caballo Island where they are to be quarantined for 21 days as part of protocol.
   
Meanwhile, an official of the Department of Health yesterday criticized Acting Health Secretary Janette Loreto-Garin’s statement on the peacekeeper who developed fever.
   
The source, who asked not to be named, pointed out that to be on the safe side, it would have been better to presume that the fever was caused by Ebola and to have taken appropriate precautionary measures.
   
“Dapat mas inisip na pwedeng Ebola yun kasi galing sa Liberia kesa Malaria at naging mas maingat sa pagbigay ng treatment sa pasyente,” he said.
   
The source noted that fever is one of the symptoms of the fatal disease, which becomes contagious once a carrier shows symptoms. Hence, medical personnel who came in contact with the patient should have been using personal protective equipment.
   
“Since may fever na yung member ng peacekeeping team at hindi pa na-rule out ang Ebola, dapat yung mga medical workers who came in contact with hi m, ay naka-protective gear. Otherwise, they are also at risk of getting Ebola, if it turned out na Ebola pala yung sakit niya,” he said.
   
The source said the DOH should be careful in issuing statements since Ebola Virus Disease is fatal.

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