DOH: Ebola-Reston virus contained

Posted at 01/29/09 7:58 PM

The Department of Health (DOH) said on Thursday that the ebola-reston virus has already been contained, and there is no sign that the virus is spreading or infecting other people.

Dr. Enrique Tayag, Director of the National Epidemiology Center, said the quarantine in hog farms currently in effect over Bulacan and Nueva Ecija will be lifted within the week.

Last Friday, the DOH confirmed that one Filipino has tested positive for the antibodies to the Ebola-Reston virus (ERV) but has not exhibited any sign of illness from the infection.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said tests done by the US Center for Disease Control (CDC) showed that the person was likely exposed to the Ebola strain more than six months ago.

"The person is healthy and has had no serious illness in the past 12 months," Tayag said Friday.

Duque said the human blood sample tested positive for ERV IgG antibodies, which manifests only when the person has been exposed to ERV more than six months ago. Local and international health experts are currently investigating how the person was exposed to ERV, he said.

He said the health department took blood samples from at least 50 possibly exposed individuals in the two quarantined commercial farms in Bulacan and Pangasinan. He said DOH has yet to receive the results of the other blood tests from the CDC.

Experts from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, the World Organization for Animal Health and the World Health Organization are in the Philippines to investigate the discovery of a strain of the Ebola virus in some dead pigs in the Philippines.

The Philippines had asked the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) for help in stopping the spread of Ebola-Reston virus after an infection was found in some hog farms last year.

The presence of the Ebola-Reston virus in some pigs in two commercial farms and two backyard farms in the country was the first such case anywhere in the world.

Duque said that in the past, humans who were exposed to ERV-infected monkeys later tested positive for antibodies and did not get seriously ill.

He said the highest risk of exposure occurred with direct contact to blood and other fluids of the infected animals. With reports from Niña Corpuz, ABS-CBN News, and David Dizon, abs-cbnNEWS.com