News and notes from Reston (tm).

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Not So Hot Zone: When Pigs Attack

Hey, remember the time a bunch of fun-loving monkeys in a lab in Isaac Newton Square all got a variant of the deadly Ebola virus that excited scientists so much they named it after Reston, maybe because the virus looked muave under a microscope, and an author wrote a best-selling book about it, and they shut down the lab and turned it into a daycare center, for human children, (hopefully) after giving everything a good wipedown with a Kleenex soaked in Lysol?

Yeah, that was awesome. And while no kids have been foaming at the mouth of late, Ebola Reston is now infecting hogs in the Philippines, which is where those fun-loving monkeys originally came from:

MANILA, Philippines—The Philippine government warned consumers on Wednesday about the ebola reston virus, which was found to have infected four hog farms in Luzon.

In a joint briefing, the Departments of Agriculture and of Health assured the public, however, that this low pathogenic strain was found to be "harmless" and "predominantly an animal health issue."

"Even if you are exposed to this virus, you will not get sick. This is not like the ebola virus which had hit Africa years ago," officials stressed.

Agriculture and health officials, along with representatives from the World Health Organization and Food and Agriculture Organization, explained that the ebola reston virus has been endemic to the Philippines and was detected in monkeys which the country had exported to the United States. This was in 1989, 1992, and 1996, they added.

They, however, assured that of the 20 human handlers of the monkeys tested positive for ebola reston, only one manifested flu-like symptoms but had since fully recovered.

"What is clear is that ebola reston does not cause death to humans. There is no clear evidence that this can be transferred to a person and cause a casualty," Yap stressed.
Good enough for us. Who wants bacon?

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