Govt Says No Ebola Virus Found on Philippine Farms

THE PHILIPPINES - The government has announced that no Ebola virus has been found on pig farms.
calendar icon 15 December 2008
clock icon 3 minute read

Philippine health officials have found no cases of the Ebola-Reston virus in two pig farms and slaughterhouses despite earlier reports that the disease had been discovered, an agricultural official said on 12 December, according to a report on Nasdaq, citing Dow Jones Newswire.

The search has been narrowed to two farms and a quarantine was still being maintained until all animals had been tested and the source of the suspected outbreak found, said Dave Catbagan, head of the Bureau of Animal Industries.

All farmworkers and slaughterhouse employees who handled the pigs from the two farms in Pandi town, Bulacan province, and Manaoag town, Pangasinan province, had tested negative for Ebola-Reston, Mr Catbagan said.

Mr Catbagan said none of the animals tested thus far had the virus.

Earlier, agriculture secretary Arthur Yap said Ebola-Reston, a strain of the Ebola virus, had been found at three pig farms north of the Philippine capital, forcing the government to order a temporary ban on pork exports.

The Ebola-Reston strain was accidentally discovered when the government, starting in late August, sent samples of pig blood to US authorities to find a vaccine for another disease killing local pigs.

Six of 24 samples sent to the US tested positive for Ebola-Reston.

Despite the US findings, no new animals have been found with the virus.

"No sick pigs, no sign of critical illnesses of pigs or the human caretakers of these pigs," Mr Catbagan said.

While the four strains of the Ebola virus found in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan, Ivory Coast and recently Uganda are known to be deadly to humans, the Ebola-Reston virus is not, according to the World Health Organization.

Although the Ebola-Reston virus has previously been found in monkeys in the Philippines, there were no signs the pigs at the quarantined farms had contact with monkeys.

Health Department program manager for Emerging and Re-emerging Diseases Lyndon Leesuy said that, while it was possible for the Ebola-Reston virus to be transferred from pigs to humans, there were no recorded cases in the current suspected outbreak, concludes the Nasdaq report.

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