Hinterland Green

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

New Ebola-Reston Strain found in Pigs in the Philippines, Scientists Say it Could be More Dangerous for Human

We have another serious problem on our hands. Researchers are worried about a type of Ebola virus, Ebola-Reston, that is spreading in pigs in the Philippines. They have warned that it could mutate in the swine population and become very dangerous for humans.
The researchers said the Philippines had tested 141 people and six of them, who either worked on pig farms or with swine products, were found with antibodies to the Ebola-Reston virus, which means they might have been infected by pigs at some time. None of them fell ill, but the scientists warned that the virus could change.

"REBOV (Ebola-Reston virus) infection in domestic swine raises concern about the potential for emerging disease in humans and a wider range of livestock," they wrote in a paper published in the latest issue of Science."There is concern that its passage through swine may allow REBOV to diverge and shift its potential for pathogenicity."

REBOV belongs to the family of filoviruses which target primates. These viruses cause viral hemorrhagic fevers, which result in bleeding and coagulation, and can lead to death. In their study, the scientists examined blood and tissue samples taken from pigs suffering unusually severe respiratory infections in different parts of the Philippines and found they contained widely varying strains of the virus. This suggests that the virus may have circulated widely in pigs even before it was first discovered in monkeys exported to the United States from the Philippines in 1989, they wrote. Source: Reuters
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