Health officials in the Philippines reported Monday that the country's second case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome was diagnosed in a 36-year-old foreign man who had flown in from Dubai.
The country has stepped up surveillance and quarantine measures at ports of entry and in the city of Muntinlupa, south of Manila, the country's capital. Patients at the hospital where the man is being treated were donning face masks, according to the Philippine Star.
Janette Garin, secretary of health of the Philippines, told reporters that the man began showing symptoms July 2 and was admitted July 4 to a hospital, where he tested positive for the virus.
Garin urged the public not to panic and said that the man had a low amount of virus in his body and that officials had located and are monitoring eight people he had come into contact with. The government has declined to release any additional information about the man, including his nationality, occupation or the reason for his trip to the Philippines.
“[W]e appeal to the public to respect the privacy of the patient," she said in a media statement. "What is important now is for us to continue practicing proper hygiene, having adequate rest, balanced diet, all leading to a good resistance; allow us to emphasize that vigilance is still needed."
The Philippine government has emphasized that the World Health Organization does not recommend any type of travel or trade restrictions related to MERS but asked anyone entering the country to report to a hospital if they experience signs of a flu such as a fever with cough that are very similar to symptoms of MERS.
The first case of MERS was in February when a nurse who came from Saudi Arabia tested positive for the disease. She recovered and was declared free of the virus within a few weeks. South Korea is still grappling with an outbreak of MERS within its borders, and as of Monday 185 cases have been confirmed. Thirty-three of those patients have died, according to the WHO.