The Philippine health authority have reported that three pig farm workers and a slaughter house worker were found carrying antibodies of a strain of Ebola virus which might have jumped from sick hogs to human but has yet posed immediate threat to the public health.
During a news conference, Health Secretary Francisco Duque reported that the four individuals aged 22 to 52, who were tested positive of antibodies of Ebola-Reston virus might have been infected through direct contact with sick pigs.
An investigation team composed of experts from the World Health Organization, World Organization for Animal Health and the Food and Agriculture Organization confirmed last week the first human infection among pig handlers in the Philippines, raising the possibility of a hog-human transmission of the virus.
Dr. Soe Nyunt-U, the country representative of World Health Organization, said the incident is “an important human health issue” but it is still considered a low risk situation to public health provided that proper procedure is enforced on hog handling and pork products preparation.
The Department of Agriculture has maintained the quarantine of farms in Bulacan and Pangasinan provinces and is conducting ransom tests on hog farms throughout the country to monitor the virus spread. The authority said the Philippines’ pork export has been temporarily halted and the incident’s implication to food safety is under examination.