The Philippine President on February 11 ordered the Acting Health Secretary to ensure that all necessary preventive measures are taken to prevent the spread of the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) after an infection was confirmed.

A 32-year-old Filipino nurse tested positive for the virus upon her return from Saudi Arabia on a flight last week. She is currently being treated in stable condition at state-run Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM).

Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma said that the authorities are trying to contact individuals who were on the same flight as the nurse.

MERS-CoV belongs to a family of corona viruses that include SARS, which haunted Asia in 2003.

It can spread between people and cause symptoms including fever, breathing problems, pneumonia and kidney failure.

The death rate of people confirmed to have the virus infection is about 51 percent. No vaccine is available so far.-VNA