December 11, 2008

Ebola strain in hogs found in three Philippine provinces 

The Philippine Department of Agriculture said Wednesday (December 10) it has found an Ebola virus Reston strain in hogs in three different provinces north of the capital.

Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap told reporters that the Ebola-Reston virus was discovered in tissue samples of hogs, which were being tested for suspected infection of porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome.

Global health organizations categorize Ebola-Reston as a "predominantly animal health issue," Yap said.

"The WHO (World Health Organization) does not consider this event as a significant public health issue at this point in time," Yap said.

Yap said tests on farm hands where the infected hogs originated yielded negative results for Ebola-Reston.

Even so, Yap said he has ordered the quarantine of hog farms where the infected animals came from, and the proper disposal of any other infected animals.

The farms are located in the town of Pandi, Bulacan province; Manaoag town in the province of Pangasinan; and in the cities of Talavera and Cabantuan in the province of Nueva Ecija.

Yap said he ordered the suspension of hog and hog meat exports.

The Reston strain of the Ebola virus was discovered in 1989, when crab-eating macaques that were imported from the Philippines died at a quarantine facility in Texas after a three-day illness. Four workers in the Reston quarantine facility contracted the virus, but didn't become ill.

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