December 24, 2008
International health experts will send a mission to the Philippines to help local health authorities to contain the spread of a strain of ebola virus found in some dead pigs.
The mission will work with the Philippine authorities through field and laboratory investigation to find out the source of the virus, its transmission, its virulence and its natural habitat, to contain its spread to other pigs and animals.
The WHO said it was the first time the ebola-reston virus was detected in pigs.
Since the detection of the virus in Philippine pigs, the organisations have been working closely with the Philippine government and local animal health experts, said the WHO.
The Department of Health said animal handlers and slaughterhouse workers tested negative for ebola infection, but additional tests are taking place.
All infected animals have been culled and disposed, and that infected establishments have been disinfected while affected areas are under strict quarantine, according to the Department of Agriculture's Bureau of Animal Industry.
Until the virus has been studied, the FAO and WHO said proper hygiene and precautionary measures such as wearing gloves, goggles and protective clothing should be exercised when slaughtering pigs. Sick pigs should be culled and disposed of properly.
Ebola viruses are normally transmitted via contact with the blood or other bodily fluids of an infected animal or person.
The Department of Agriculture has advised the public to buy meat only from National Meat Inspection Services certified sources.