Authorities intensify A/H1N1 monitoring

June 8, 2009 11:31 am 

MANILA, June 8 — Health authorities will be closely monitoring Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) personnel who processed the documents of overseas Filipino worker tested positive with influenza A (H1N1) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia for possible infection.

This, after Filipino nurse Rowena Wahab was discharged from a hospital in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia after contracting the disease.

“Based from Philippines Overseas Labor Office (POLO) report, Wahab was confined only for two days since she responded well to medication for influenza,” POEA Administrator Jennifer Manalili said.

Wahab's employer is Riyadh’s King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center.

Evaluators at the Balik Mangagagwa (BM) counter who might have processed Wahab's document, is currently under close watch to determine possible infection.

Wahab, together with her husband were processed by the BM staff last May 25, four days before she left the country for Riyadh on May 29.

Wahab arrived in the Saudi capital last May 29 from Manila via Gulf Air flight 163.

Wahab developed fever a day after she arrived in Riyadh.

Manalili also said that all the four members of Wahab’s family who were placed under quarantine after the nurse was confirmed positive for influenza are now also back home.

“They are all doing well and were just asked to undergo routine check up,” Manalili said.

Because of this index case among the overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), the DoH advised departing Filipino workers to temporarily postpone their trip abroad if they are experiencing influenza-like symptoms.

“As a precautionary, we are urging departing workers who are suffering from cough, fever and sore throat to just delay their trip if possible,” Department of Health (DOH)-National Epidemiology Center (NEC) chief Dr. Eric Tayag said.

Tayag also said that outbound workers should immediately inform authorities in their destination so they could immediately be given appropriate treatment.

Likewise, Tayag reminded all OFWs to frequently wash their hands and observe proper hygiene to protect themselves from the infection.

POEA has also advised returning OFWs from abroad to voluntarily go on 10-day self-quarantine to protect their families and other Filipinos from possible infection.

Manalili has said said the POEA is set to distribute guidelines on how to handle and prevent the spread of A/H1N1 to various manning agencies and recruitment companies.

Influenza A/H1N1 infections worldwide has reached 19,000; death toll has reached 117.

As of today, a total of 46 A/H1N1 cases has been recorded in the country, the DoH said. (PNA)/V3/MPC/

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