DOH finds handlers of monkeys negative of Ebola Reston Virus

September 11, 2015 5:55 am 

By Leilani S. Junio

MANILA, Sept. 10 (PNA)–The Department of Health (DOH) said Thursday that the personnel and handlers of monkeys in a conditioning and breeding facility yielded negative results from the suspected Ebola Reston Virus in monkeys upon confirmatory tests.

“The good news–all human handlers and human personnel exposed to monkeys were negative for ERV” said DOH Secretary Janette L. Garin in a press briefing held at DOH media relations unit.

“We would like to assure the public that this (ERV) is limited to monkeys," Garin said.

Earlier, the handlers and personnel undertook testing after reports that monkeys in conditioning and breeding facilities were suspected to have been inflicted with ERV after the recorded death of 10 monkeys last August.

Although there was no clear evidence linking the death to ERV, the deaths of the monkeys were suspected due to ERV as the signs, symptoms and progressions common to those who succumbed to ebola disease was observed.

The suspicion was not established with facts as there were no confirmatory tests that were done because the bodies of the said dead monkeys were already administered with formalyn.

The DOH , for its part, then helped in conducting confirmatory tests among monkeys and among facility personnel, inlcuding the monkey handlers.

The department also provided personal protective equipments among handlers of monkeys so that they can be protected even if based on their findings the ERV present in some monkeys in the country had no fatal effects if transmitted to humans.

Garin even said that while ERV present in some monkeys in the country belongs to the same family of “ebola zaire” in Africa linked to ebola virus disease, the ERV here is something very kind to humans.

During the same press briefing Garin also disclosed that there were 10 monkeys who turned out to be positive for ERV during the confirmatory test.

She said that out of the 10 ERV-positive monkeys, one had died bringing the total number of deaths or mortality number of the monkeys to a total of 11.

“The remaining nine are recovering…They are being monitored closely,” the DOH chief added.

Meanwhile, Department of Agriculture Undersecretary Jose Reano, who was also present in the press briefing, said that testing of the monkeys from ERV is on-going.

Reano said that the testing was over for one facility (conditioning facility) and will continue in the other one –breeding facility.

The testing for the ERV among monkeys is done by the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI).

They assured the public that they will try to identify the other possible sources of transmission to stop it and not induce harm not only to monkeys but also to other animals.

He said that they will work together with Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and DOH so that it is not only the health of humans that can be address but also of the animals as well.

The undersecretary of DA even appeal for respect to the environment where animals stays.

He also said that since the bats were suspected as carrier of ERV among Philippine monkeys, it is important to take care of their home site by not causing disturbance by damaging them.

He said that damaging the environment of the bats can cause them movement from one place to another wherein they can possibly transmit ERV to other animals. (PNA)



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