MANILA - Philippine health authorities said Wednesday they have quarantined a Filipino who arrived from the Middle East because he tested positive for the deadly MERS virus.
The man, who arrived in the Philippines on Tuesday, is not yet showing symptoms but has been isolated in hospital, Health Secretary Enrique Ona said.
The Health Department is also quarantining the man's family and tracing the people who had contact with him during his flight to see if they may also be infected with the MERS or Middle East Respiratory Syndrome virus, he added.
"He can infect people so that is why he is quarantined or in isolation," Ona said in a television interview.
Ona said the man, whom he did not name, was reportedly a hospital worker in the United Arab Emirates and may have had contact with someone in that country who died of the MERS virus.
The Filipino was one of those who had a blood sample taken after contact with the deceased, Ona said.
"But before the results were released, he returned to this country. When he was here, the test results came out and it was positive so they informed him at once and alerted us as well," the health secretary said.
An epidemiologist is being sent to the Middle East to check on the spread of the MERS virus, especially whether it has infected some of the millions of Filipinos working there, he added.