Ebola Virus Found in Pig Farm

PHILIPPINES - A 30-hectare piggery farm in Barangay Parian was placed under quarantine this week as a precautionary measure to prevent the spread of the dreaded ebola reston virus.
calendar icon 19 December 2008
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The move was undertaken after the Tropical Disease Institute of the Philippines (TDIP) examined all the hogs in the Lambino Farm here and found most of its swine were afflicted with ebola reston virus.

The virus was discovered when specimens of hogs being raised in the Lambino farm, located at the boundary of Manaoag to Mapandan town, were examined by TDIP in a regular field check-up of animals.

Department of Agriculture Regional Director Cipriano Santiago rushed to the farm Thursday morning along with officials of the Bureau of Animal Industry and Department of Health and municipal health office to check on the farm.

Joining them in the inspection were veterinary officers of Pangasinan and Manaoag town, the municipal agriculture officer and the town police headed by Supt. Mateo Casupang.

He immediately imposed a quarantine on the farm to ensure that no hog is brought out for sale and no more hogs will come in till the area is declared safe.

Mr Santiago said this means that the piggery farm would be closely monitored 24 hours a day to ensure that the requirement is strictly followed.

Mr Santiago later said the ebola reston virus that attacked the swine in the Lambino Farm is a strain that affects only the hogs but not humans, which means, that the matter "is not a concern on public health but on animal health."

He called on the people not to panic because the meat of such infected animals can be eaten if washed and cooked thoroughly.

Mr Santiago said that so far, it is only in the Lambino farm in the entire province of Pangasinan where the ebola reston virus was detected.

Dr Raymond Veloria, municipal health officer of Manaoag, who was among those who inspected the piggery farm, said based on the findings of the TDIP most of the swine and piglets in the farm were infected by the virus.

Dr Veloria reported that the farm has 14 sows, 11 boars, 53 growers, 70 weanlings, and 217 piglets for fattening.

The initial inventory showed there were 62 piglets suffering from diarrhoea, he said.

Dr Veloria added that based on these findings, the Municipal Health Office, together with the Department of Health and the DA, recommended that the farm be quarantined for at least one to two months.

Dr Veloria said people should not panic because the ebola reston virus is non-pathogenic in humans and the infected piglets do not transmit the disease.

Saying that ebola virus came from monkeys and first afflicted Africans, like those from Kenya and Congo, Dr Veloria believes an infected person or monkey from those African countries may have carried the virus to the Philippines.

Dr Veloria revealed that per documentation, the same strain of the virus was also detected in some farms in Bulacan and Nueva Ecija.

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