THE Department of Health (DOH) confirmed on Saturday that monkeys held captive in a Philippine facility are carriers of the Ebola Reston Virus (ERV).
Health Secretary Janette Loreto Garin said in a statement that the ERV poses minimal to zero threats to healthy adults.
Requested blood samples from the employees of the unnamed facility were taken to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM), and all results tested negative of ERV, DOH disclosed.
The RITM sent samples from the monkeys to Japan and Australia for follow up tests.
The DOH, however, will still monitor the health status of the employees of the facility, which is both a “breeding lab and research facility.”
“Maraming klase ng Ebola. Meron Ebola na grabe epekto sa hayop ngunit hindi naaapektuhan ang tao. [Ang Ebola Reston] ang pinakamabait na virus sa tao,” Garin said [There are several kinds of Ebola viruses. There is one that has serious ill effects on animals but has little to no effect on humans], also noting that this has happened in the country before.
According to the World Health Organization, previous studies have shown that the virus can be transmitted to humans, but does not cause any illness.
However, there is no record of the effect of ERV to children, pregnant women, immunocompromised people, and people with underlying diseases.
In 2009, Filipino farmers tested positive for ERV, which was found in pigs. The ERV, however, did not provide any serious effect on the health condition of humans around.
The Philippines is the only country in the world producing an Ebola strain, which does not have a grave effect on the health of humans.
The Department of Agriculture is currently working with DOH to trace the source of the virus.
“We call on the public not to panic as wrong information may lead to more harm than help in the community. Vigilance is still needed. Let us be precautious and adhere to the reminders given by the DOH,” Garin reminded.
“Allow us to emphasize that the present situation is limited to monkeys. Ang importante ay nakita, nalaman, at hinahanap ang pinanggalingan upang mapigilan ang pagkalat [The important thing is we found it, we knew it, and we are continuously seeking ways to stop the virus from spreading],” she added.
The DOH said it would give an update on the issue next week.