The Ebola-Reston strain has surfaced in Philippine swine samples proving that the deadly disease is capable of infecting livestock.
Ebola, one of the most feared infectious diseases, were discovered during tests at a USDA laboratory. The World Health Organization, said it is looking into whether the infection in pigs poses any threat to humans.
“While it's believed that Ebola-Reston is primarily a disease of animals, we are working with the Philippines government to see if there are any potential risks to humans,” said Gregory Hartl, a spokesman for the WHO in Geneva. “At the moment, we believe the risks are quite low.”
The pigs, which came from four farms north of Manila, were also infected with at least two more-common diseases, stated Davinio P. Catbagan, the Philippines' chief veterinary officer. An outbreak of diseases which begun late last year wiped out entire herds in some cases.
Planned shipments to Singapore have now been suspended. “We are suspending pork exports until we're sure there's no risk to humans”, Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap told reporters in Manila.
It is the first time Ebola has been reported in pigs. A Philippine report however said the pig outbreak was “considered of negligible public health importance.”
All animals in the affected areas have been quarantined while officials conduct an epidemiological investigation into the outbreak.
The infected pigs were from Santo Nino in Bulacan province, Pinagpanaan in Nueva Ecija province and Manaoag in Pangasinan province. The animals were also infected with porcine circovirus type 2 and a type of porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome similar to that which killed pigs in China and Vietnam during the past two years.
→ World Health Organization