Ebola virus found in pigs

17 July, 2009

A non-pathogenic strain of the Ebola virus has been discovered in pigs in the Philippines.

Researchers found pigs infected with the Ebola-Reston (REBOV) virus while testing to find a cause for the severe respiratory infections that have plagued the country's swine herds.

The strain is non-pathogenic to humans and will not cause illness, but the researchers are concerned that it pigs might provide a vessel for it to mutate into something more deadly.

A report, published in the journal Science, said that that the virus' passage through swine “may allow REBOV to diverge and shift its potential for pathogenicity”.

Some of the farm workers handling the pigs tested positive for the disease, suggesting that it is jumping from human to swine, but none have shown any signs of illness.

REBOV is part of the Ebola family of viruses and has previously only ever been found in humans and other primates. It is part of the Ebola family of viruses, which also includes pathogenic strains such as the Zaďre virus (ZEBOV) and Sudan ebolavirus (SEBOV).

The pathogenic strains of the virus are potentially fatal and associated with Ebola haemorrhagic fever, which causes heavy internal bleeding.





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