Agriculture Chief Finds Ebola Virus Strain in Philippine Swine

by Hannah Punitha on  December 11, 2008 at 6:04 PM Research News
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A strain of the Ebola virus has been found in pigs at a farm north of the Philippine capital Manila, according to the country's top agriculture official.
 Agriculture Chief Finds Ebola Virus Strain in Philippine Swine
Agriculture Chief Finds Ebola Virus Strain in Philippine Swine

The Ebola-Reston strain, however, was believed to have affected only domestic livestock and had so far not jumped between species, said Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap.

This was the first Ebola case in swine, and the government was closely working with the World Health Organisation and the World Organisation of Animal Health in carrying out further tests, Yap said.

"This is the first time Ebola has been detected in pigs, but this is not a human health issue, but an animal health problem," Yap told local radio.

"There is no evidence that this could jump to humans," he said, adding that Ebola-Reston was different from three other African strains that cause deadly haemorraghic fever, which has led to hundreds of human deaths in Africa.

Yap said the farm, on the main island of Luzon, was being closely monitored. Farm hands and butchers had been tested, but results have so far come back negative, he said.

Other pigs on the farm were not infected, while old stocks of meat had been burned as a precaution, he said.

Yap reminded the public to buy pork only from markets inspected by agricultural officials and to cook the meat thoroughly.

This was not the first time that the Ebola-Reston strain was found in the Philippines, Yap said. Fifteen years ago, several Filipinos were infected by the virus that apparently jumped from local monkeys.

Only one of them developed a cold, that later went away, Yap said.

Source: AFP
SPH

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