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Manila reports Ebola virus in pigs

world Updated: Dec 12, 2008 16:17 IST

Hindustan Times
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For pork lovers Manila may not be an attractive destination anymore. The country that was planning to launch a pork export industry has suffered a huge setback thanks to an invisible threat - ebola virus.

Nation's health and agricultural secretaries have assured the public stating that the virus has been detected in hogs for the first time and they present a low risk for humans. Still the people in general have reasons to feel jittery about this menace.

The virus was first discovered in Zaire and Sudan during 1976 where the outbreak of ebola hemorrhagic fever claimed 90 per cent of its victims in Zairenand in Sudan the fatalities were 50 per cent. A study showed that the virus was transmitted to humans by the infected animals.

The virus is then transmitted to other people who come into contact with infected blood and bodily fluids of the infected person, and by human contact with contaminated medical equipment such as needles.

In Africa due to remotness and sparseness of rural population ebola didn't present threat for an epidemic. However in phillipines with high concentration of urban population that depends heavily and almost exclusively on pork (An avarage Filipino eats 61 gms of meat everyday and half of it is pork) as their stapl diet the chances of a widespread epidemic cannot be ruled out.

Ebola is believed to be a zoonotic (that transmits from animals to humans) virus that is responsible for devastating the populations of Western Lowland gorillas in Central Africa.