TACLOBAN CITY – The Department of Health regional office has designated five rooms at the Eastern Visayas Regional Medical Center (EVRMC) for isolation of patients with suspected Ebola virus and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome – Coronavirus (MERS-CoV). This was disclosed by DOH Regional Director Jose Llacuna who said that the region is prepared for “any eventuality” if in case they would be asked by their central office to monitor patients with the suspected highly contagious disease.

“We’re just the receiving end of information. We have to prepare to make follow up if whoever they want us to monitor,” Llacuna said. The isolation room maintained at the regional hospital has been used by the health department as isolation room during the height of 2003 epidemic of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

“This is exclusive for highly contagious disease. It is an isolated area ante-room with was room and protective personal equipment,” he added. The facility can accommodate patients from six provinces of Eastern Visayas recommended by the Health Emergency Management Staff (HEMS) of the DOH for monitoring. Close daily monitoring by DOH-HEMS of symptoms continues to take place among these OFWs. Regional health officials are on standby to facilitate the conduct and admission of possible suspected cases to the nearest DOH hospitals or medical centers.

The DOH advised suspected cases to be taken immediately to the nearest health facility for medical attention. Severe cases require intensive supportive care. At present, there is no specific treatment or vaccine yet available. Ebola is a severe, infectious, often fatal disease in humans and primates (monkeys, gorillas, and chimpanzees) caused by infection from the Ebola virus. Corona viruses are a large family of viruses that cause a range of illnesses in humans, from the common cold to the SARS. Viruses in this family also cause a number of animal diseases. (SARWELL Q.MENIANO)