Ebola Reston Virus

The Ebola Reston Virus made headlines in late 2008 when some pigs in the Philippines were tested positive for the virus. In January 2009, a worker in a pig farm was reported to have been infected with Ebola Reston. This was the first case of the virus being transmitted from a pig to a human, and became a cause of concern worldwide.

The Ebola Reston is among the four subtypes of the Ebola virus. The big difference is that out of the four, which originated in Africa, Ebola Reston does not cause hemorrhagic symptoms. Even though it can prove fatal to monkeys, the Asian filovirus is not pathogenic to humans.

History of The Ebola Reston Virus

The virus was first discovered in November 1989 during an investigation on a Simian hemorrhagic fever outbreak. The investigation was conducted at Hazleton Laboratories Reston in Virginia. The scientists discovered filoviruses that look just like the tissue samples they have taken from a Crab-eating Macaque imported from the Philippines. During the next few years, the Center for Disease and Control Prevention (CDC) conducted investigations on the prevalence and effect of the virus on monkeys. They found out that compared to monkeys infected with the African filovirus, those with the Asian filovirus survived the illness and has no fatal effect on humans.

Several incidents of the strain re-emerged in Italy in 1992 and the Philippines in 1996 and 2008. The CDC is conducting further investigation on the recent infections.

The discovery of the Ebola Reston virus became a concern especially among the people in the Philippines. Filipinos want to make sure that the pork that they eat is safe for consumption. According to the Department of Health, pork products in the country are generally safe, given that the meat is prepared in hygienic conditions and cooked thoroughly. Proper cooking eliminates viruses from all types of meat.

The DOH stresses however that meat that came from sick and dead (double) pigs should not be eaten under any circumstances. These animals should be reported to the Bureau of Animal Industry and the Department of Agriculture's National Meat Inspection Service. They also advise the public to buy meat from stores certified by the National Meat Inspection Service.

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