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Offline SCRepublic

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« on: February 07, 2009, 09:02:44 AM »
Joint DA-DOH Press Release

The Department of Health and the Department of Agriculture have received the results of 77 blood samples taken from persons who may have been exposed to Ebola Reston Virus (ERV).

Of these 77 samples tested at the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM), 37 were sent to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for further tests.

The first human sample that tested positive for Ebola Reston IgG antibodies was traced by the Investigating Team to a backyard farmer who had direct contact with sick pigs. He remains well and has not been sick in the previous 12 months.

Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III today confirmed that four additional individuals have been found positive for Immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies against the ERV.  This brings the total number of ERV antibody positive humans to five, as of today, January 30, 2009.

Duque said that presence of ERV IgG antibodies signifies that the body has effectively mounted a protective defense against the Ebola Reston Virus.
Like the first positive human, the four others are also healthy and have not been seriously ill also in the previous 12 months.

These five individuals were from pig farms in Bulacan, Pangasinan, and Valenzuela City, and a slaughterhouse in Pangasinan. They are well and have not been sick in the previous 12 months.
The Investigating Team initially reported that exposures of all 5 individuals were possibly from direct contact with sick pigs.  The use of personal protective equipment (PPE) was not common practice among these animal handlers.

Secretary Duque stressed that at this time, the possibility of pig-to-human transmission cannot be dismissed.  In the past humans who handled sick monkeys with ERV tested positive for antibodies after having direct contact with the monkeys’ blood and other body fluids.

Contact tracing of all five positive individuals is ongoing.  Contact tracing is a standard procedure to determine health risks to humans who are in close contact with positive individuals.

The DOH and DA are coordinating with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO),  World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), and the World Health Organization (WHO) to determine the most likely source of the ERV, describe its presence in pigs and how it spreads in affected farms, study the risks that predisposes pig-to-human transmission and examine the implications to food safety.

DA Secretary Arthur Yap has maintained the quarantine of the farms in Bulacan and Pangasinan and the voluntary export ban of pork.

RITM reported that 1039 pig blood samples collected by the expert mission yielded negative results on antigen tests.  Antibody tests are still ongoing.

The CDC is still doing the tests on pig tissue samples and hopefully the results will be available soon. No current unusual pig illness has been detected in these two farms.

The DA is currently investigating reports of Hog Cholera and Salmonella in pigs in Sta. Maria, Davao del Sur, and Hog Cholera and Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS) in pigs in Sta Rita, Samar. Pig tissue samples were collected and will be tested for other pig pathogens including the ERV.

The combined DOH and DA team has endorsed the four lines of defense to limit the animal and human health risks of the Ebola Reston Virus. The local governments, hog industry as well as the public must play a critical role in observing these lines of defense.

First, unusual occurrences of sick or dying pigs should be reported to local veterinary or agriculture authorities.

Secretary Yap has instructed the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) to conduct a Luzon-wide surveillance and to improve vaccine coverage against common pig diseases with high morbidity and mortality to reduce outbreaks in the swine population.

Yap also said that DA will enhance bio-security measures to prevent and contain any future outbreaks, the Second line of defense.

The DA and the DOH emphasize that all animal handlers, in commercial and backyard farms, practice safe farming and biosecurity measures. 

The DOH and DA are working in cooperation with the Occupational  Safety and Health Center of the Department of Labor and Employment to immediately come up with guidelines to ensure the occupational safety of all animal handlers including recommendations on the proper use of PPEs under certain circumstances.

The Third line of defense is meant to prevent the entry of double dead meat into the market.

BAI has already enhanced their pig movement and shipment control, and increased strategically located quarantine check points to prevent transport of sick pigs.

The National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS) has also tightened its control and is working closely with local governments to curb this unsafe practice. The public should be wary of pork sold at cheaper prices and should only buy from reputable sources and look for the NMIS seal.

The Last line of defense involves thorough cooking of pork and pork products. Pork cooked at high heat (700C) destroys and kills disease-causing organisms. Consumption of raw or undercooked meat  is not advised.

Both Departments have already coordinated with  their regional offices and the local governments of the affected areas to monitor and assess the condition in their locality.  The DOH and DA regional counterparts have established an inter-agency task force to address their local situation.  All local chief executives of the affected areas have committed to take active measures to support DA and DOH initiatives.

The laboratory capacity of RITM is also being enhanced to improve its diagnostic proficiency and efficiency in detecting ERV and other zoonotic diseases.  A team from CDC will be arriving in February to train more laboratory personnel on ERV diagnostic procedures and conduct quality assurance activities.

The DOH and DA reiterate that ERV is both an animal and human health issue.  They maintain that this is a low risk situation to human health provided that standard hygiene procedures and safety protocols in animal handling and food preparation are observed.

The public is urged to report all unusual pig deaths or illnesses (HOTLINE: 02-925-9999) and to be vigilant against buying double dead meat. Pork should be bought only from reputable sources meaning that it passed the NMIS standards.  Proper handling of pork and thorough cooking should always be practiced to ensure that pork is safe to eat.

Living a green body in an ungreen world

« on: February 07, 2009, 09:02:44 AM »
Travel Sale Mountain View


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« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2009, 05:42:29 PM »
i've been hearing about this for a long time. i didn't know that this issue still continue. but thanks for sharing. lots of virus continue to appear nowadays.


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