[enviro-vlc] UN helping Philippines tackle first-ever Ebola outbreak in pigs
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Thu Dec 25 11:08:27 EST 2008
UN helping Philippines tackle first-ever Ebola outbreak in pigs
First detection of Ebola-Reston virus in pigs
23 December 2008 – The Philippine Government has asked the United Nations for
help in tackling what appears to be the first global outbreak of the deadly
Ebola-Reston virus in pigs, which has attacked hog farms in the South-East Asian
Philippine officials have asked two UN agencies – the UN Food and Agriculture
Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) – as well as the
World Organization for Human Health (OIE) to send an expert mission to
investigate the outbreak, FAO announced today.
“Since being informed of this event in late November, FAO, OIE and WHO have been
making every effort to gain a better understanding of the situation and are
working closely with the PhilippiSince being informed of this event in late
November, FAO, OIE and WHO have been making every effort to gain a better
understanding of the situation and are working closely with the Philippine
Government and local animal and human health expertsne Government and local
animal and human health experts,” FAO said in a news release. ince being
informed of this event in late November, FAO, OIE and WHO have been making every
effort to gain a better understanding of the situation and are working closely
with the Philippine Government and local animal and human health experts
The experts are conducting field and laboratory tests to find the source of the
virus, its transmission, natural habitat and virulence in order to appropriately
guide animal and human health protection, according to FAO.
Lab reports in late October confirmed that pigs on hog farms in the Nueva Ecija
and Bulacan provinces of the Central Luzon region were infected with the
Ebola-Reston virus, as well as a highly virulent strain of Porcine reproductive
and respiratory syndrome (PRRS). The tests began in early 2007 when pigs on
those farms began dying at a faster rate than usual.
PRSS can not be transmitted to humans. The Reston strain of the Ebola virus can
infect humans, but no deaths or serious illnesses have been reported to date.
Still, officials are taking precautions. Animal handlers and slaughterhouse
workers who were possibly exposed to the infected pigs have tested negative for
the Ebola-Reston virus and additional tests are underway.
The Philippine Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Animal Industry notified
the OIE that all infected animals were destroyed, their remains buried or
burned. Healthy pigs in Bucalan are being vaccinated against PRRS. And infected
premises have been disinfected and placed under strict quarantine and movement
Outbreaks of the Ebola-Reston virus in the Philippines first occurred in monkeys
during 1989 and 1990, followed by outbreaks in 1992 and 1996.
FAO and WHO have advised people to follow good hygiene practices and
food-handling measures until experts better understand the disease and how it
was transmitted to pigs. Pork from healthy swine is safe to eat as long as it is
cooked properly or has met national safety standards during production,
processing and distribution.
The Philippine Department of Agriculture has advised the Philippine public to
buy meat only from sources certified by the National Meat Inspection Service.
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