Register for an account

X

Enter your name and email address below.

Your email address is used to log in and will not be shared or sold. Read our privacy policy.

X

Website access code

Enter your access code into the form field below.

If you are a Zinio, Nook, Kindle, Apple, or Google Play subscriber, you can enter your website access code to gain subscriber access. Your website access code is located in the upper right corner of the Table of Contents page of your digital edition.

Health

Number of Humans With Pig Ebola in the Philippines Rises to Five

pig.jpg

Newsletter

Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

The number of people infected with Ebola traced from pigs in the Philippines has reached five, but health officials say there is no cause for panic--although they do advise wary attention. The strain of the disease, Ebola Reston, is thought not to be dangerous to humans, and the first identified case, a pig handler who was infected at least six months ago, is still healthy. But experts say there remains some concern because

pigs are mixing vessels for other human and animal viruses, like flu, and because it shows that pigs may also be able to transmit the lethal strains of Ebola. Far more humans are in regular contact with pigs than with apes, monkeys or bats, the other known hosts [The New York Times].

The virus was first identified in pigs in the Philippines last year, at which point two farms were closed and blood samples collected from 6,000 pigs and 50 workers. From those, four pigs and one worker tested positive, says Francisco Duque, the Philippine health secretary. In January, a new round of testing turned up four more infected men who worked on pig farms and in slaughterhouses. Duque insists there is no reason for the public to be alarmed, saying that all five men seem to be in good health and are no longer carrying the virus. He adds that the presence of antibodies in the five patients demonstrates the “protective defense” that they have built up against the Ebola Reston virus.

Like the first positive human, the four others are also healthy and have not been seriously ill in the previous 12 months" [The Philippine Star],

says Duque. There is

“more need to investigate than to worry” [The New York Times]

says Juan Lubroth, an agriculture official with the United Nations. Lubroth also says that the pigs involved had multiple infections, and that it might not have been Ebola that made them so sick. “But farmers, of course, would prefer to have pigs without Ebola,” he said. “So we want to do more testing to see what they can do to protect them”

[The New York Times].

Related Content: 80beats: Global Warming Could Bring a Surge in 12 Deadly Diseases, including Ebola 80beats: A Vulnerable Spot on the Ebola Virus’ Shell DISCOVER: Caught in the Hot Zone describes the toll Ebola is taking on gorillas DISCOVER: Marburg and Ebola Vaccine DISCOVER: Ebola Tamed--for Now

Image: flickr / Laurel Fan

2 Free Articles Left

Want it all? Get unlimited access when you subscribe.

Subscribe

Already a subscriber? Register or Log In

Want unlimited access?

Subscribe today and save 75%

Subscribe

Already a subscriber? Register or Log In