Risk Assessment on Ebola Reston Virus Set

Manila Bulletin, December 15, 2008 | Go to article overview

Risk Assessment on Ebola Reston Virus Set


A comprehensive risk assessment will be carried out by the government on potential danger of the Ebola Reston virus on animal and human health so as to ensure longer term livestock security and health safety.

The Department of Agriculture (DA) will conduct the risk assessment together with the Department of Health (DoH) in order to prepare for any contingency in any unstudied effect of the virus that offers many unknowns for Filipinos.

"We are opening our doors to scrutiny by independent, globally recognized health organizations in the livestock industry," said DA Secretary Arthur C. Yap in a statement.

The risk assessment will be implemented despite earlier assurance of experts from the World Health Organization, Food and Agriculture Organization, and local agency Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) that the Ebola Reston virus is not a human health risk and may only pose mild health effects even on animals.

Dr. Remigio Olveda, RITM director, said the virus has very low pathogenicity that anyone can work on it in an ordinary laboratory.

"Even if you develop an antibody, you will not get sick. So it's not pathogenic. It's not like the Ebola virus that caused outbreak in Africa where you need a very high level, Level 4, treatment. It's very pathogenic. But this one, you can work (on it) in an ordinary lab," said Olveda.

Since the Ebola Reston virus was found in 1989 in the Philippines particularly on monkeys, also called macaques that ate crabs, in a farm in Laguna, Ferlite Farms, there has been no evidence that the virus can cause harm to human.

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Risk Assessment on Ebola Reston Virus Set
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