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The Deadly Ebola Reston Virus In Philippine Pigs Strikes Again

July 10, 2009

ebola in pigs montage

Here’s another one for authorities grappling with our national security situation: a new outbreak of the deadly  ebola reston virus in Philippine pigs that can mutate and infect humans.

The Associated Press is reporting that the killer virus first detected early this year in piggeries in Bulacan and several other areas in Luzon has struck again.

The site of the outbreak is not mentioned yet but the report in the authoritative Journal of Science says  “an international team of human- and animal-health experts is in the Philippines this month, studying the first known outbreak of Ebola-Reston virus in pigs. Experts are concerned because pigs live in close proximity to humans.”

Here’s the AP  report:

A form of ebola virus has been detected in pigs for the first time, raising concerns it could mutate and threaten humans, scientists report.
Reston ebolavirus has only been seen in monkeys and humans previously and, unlike other types of ebola, it is not known to cause illness in people.
The discovery of REBOV in pigs in the Philippines is reported in Friday’s edition of the journal Science.
Researchers say it is theoretically possible for the virus to mutate in pigs into a form that might sicken people.
However, they noted that while some of the farm workers tending the pigs also had become infected, they showed no signs of illness.
It was only last Fenruary and March that almost 5,000 pigs had to be culled and burned is a wide pit at a piggery in Pandi, Bulacan with health workers needing to avoid getting infected.

The new ebola reston virus outbreak comes as the Arroyo government is saddled by the spread of the influenza H1N1 virus and troops and police are on heightened alert in Metro Manila to prevent the entry of terror bombers with links to the elements behind the explosions in Jolo, Sulu, Cotabato, and Iligan cities in Mindanao.

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