By Leilani S. Junio
MANILA, Nov. 18 (PNA) — The Department of Health (DOH) confirmed on Tuesday that another Filipino peacekeeper who is on quarantine in Caballo Island near Corregidor has been monitored to be suffering from “sore throat” or irritation of the throat.
“Yes, there was one peacekeeper, who was examined to have sore throat. Initial treatment through antibiotics was already done to him,” said DOH Acting Secretary Janette L. Garin during a press briefing held at the DOH Media Relations Unit in Tayuman, Manila.
“We are currently closely observing him,” Garin assured, adding that in case the patient will develop fever, the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) in Alabang, Muntinlupa City, which is very capable of handling infectious diseases, is prepared to undertake the necessary tests and treatment.
The health official said they are on 24/7 alert about the daily reports on even minor illnesses or health conditions of the more than 130 Filipino peacekeepers staying in the quarantine site.
The peacekeepers returned from Liberia last week and were immediately transported to the Caballo Island for a three-week quarantine in compliance with the government protocol to maintain the country’s Ebola-free status.
Dr. Garin said doctors are closely monitoring the temperatures of the soldiers and very watchful of the presence of even small illnesses like toothache and sore throat.
Meanwhile, Garin has reiterated that Ebola virus disease (EVD) is only contagious when there are serious manifestations of the symptoms.
“While it (EVD) is contagious, it is not an easy virus to catch and not airborne,” she explained.
It is transmitted through direct contact or exchange of bodily fluids through touching and can enter in the body openings such as eyes, ears, nose, etc. by means of blood, urine, saliva, sweat, feces, semen and vomits of patients.
EVD is a hemorrhagic fever whose symptoms and signs include fever, diarrhea, sore throat, chills, joint muscle pains, vomiting, red eyes, presence of rashes, internal and external bleeding in the body.
The virus develops within two to 21 days, that is why a three-week quarantine is recommended to ensure that those coming back from Ebola-stricken countries are easily monitored and checked for symptoms of the disease.
Late last week, one of the 133 peacekeepers under quarantine at the Caballo Island exhibited some symptoms like fever, chills and body malaise which prompted the DOH to transfer him to the RITM for confirmatory tests.
In the test results which the DOH released last Saturday, it was declared that the patient was negative from Ebola but was sick with malaria as indicated by the presence of “plasmodium falcifarum” parasites in his blood that caused his on-and-off feverish condition.
The soldier is currently being provided with continuous medication at the RITM. (PNA)