The Department of Health (DOH) is closely monitoring incoming travelers to the country following recent reports of a “mysterious disease” from China. This comes after reports that China has 44 confirmed cases of the illness, which is said to be similar to “viral pneumonia of unknown origin.”
On January 5, Sunday, Health Secretary Francisco Duque urged the public, especially those who recently traveled to China, “ to seek immediate medical consult if experiencing any flu-like symptoms.” He further said that all should “embrace healthy lifestyles, practice proper hand hygiene, and observe cough etiquette to prevent transmission of respiratory infections.”
According to Health Undersecretary Eric Domingo, symptoms of the illness include “it’s like a regular feeling of heaviness, cough, cold, maybe a headache and a fever. It’s very similar to any kind of flu.” He further states that for the illness, “there’s a clustering in this province in China and all of the people who had it, they did not test positive for any regular flu virus. So it’s something new and there’s this exposure to a certain market in China that they are now investigating.” He is referring to the South China Seafood City food market in Wuhan, China, where several patients were working and which is currently being investigated by authorities.
Accordingly, the Bureau of Quarantine is also on alert and is monitoring all ports for travelers with fever or any symptom of respiratory infection.
The first case of the mystery illness was first reported last December 24 in Wuhan, which led to initial online speculations about the resurgence of SARS — the flu-like severe acute respiratory syndrome virus that killed hundreds in China and HongKong. However, Chinese authorities have already stated that initial investigations had ruled out SARS, Middle East respiratory syndrome, influenza, bird flu, and adenovirus. Authorities further said that there has been no reported case of human-to-human transmission. Of the 44 recorded cases in China, 11 are listed in serious condition.