Philippine Ebola outbreak prompts precautions
This article was originally published in Scrip
The first reported cases of the Ebola virus in swine are creating health concerns in the Philippines, where the World Health Organizationis recommending precautions against possible human transmission. The Reston species – which is also referred to as Asian filovirus, was identified in 1989 when infected crab-eating macaques were exported from the Philippines to Hazelton Laboratores in Reston, Virginia. Ebola Reston has previously only infected monkeys, and has not been known to infect humans. The virus was detected in pigs in the Philippines in December, and it is of concern because pigs are food-producing animals for humans. Other strains of the haemorrhagic virus, such as Ebola Zaire and Ebola Sudan, are highly infectious and can have a human fatality rate of up to 90%. The WHO, World Organization for Animal Health and UN Food and Agriculture Organization are working with local authorities to investigate virulence and transmission routes. There are no available vaccines against any strain of the Ebola virus.