MANILA – The Department of Health (DOH) on Saturday confirmed the presence of Ebola Reston Virus (ERV) among monkeys held captive in an “unnamed facility” in the country and advised the public not to panic because such is limited only among monkeys.
DOH Secretary Janette Garin assured the public that based on their findings, the spread was limited only among monkeys in the unnamed facility.
Garin also said that the DOH was in close coordination with Department of Agriculture in tracing the possible source of the virus.
Garin also assured that while there was a possibility that the virus could be transmitted to humans, such would not likely result into an illness.
“The threat posed to healthy adults ranges from low to none,” Garin said.
With that assurance, she called on the public not to panic as fear and misinformation can cause more harm than help in the community.
The Health secretary explained that there were many kinds of Ebola.
She also said that while there were Ebola virus which seriously affects animals (monkey), but this one (EVR) present in the monkeys in the country could be considered the kindest one to humans in comparison to other family of Ebola.
“This (ERV) is not something new and already traced among species of monkeys in the country and should not be a cause for panic,” she added.
She also said that what was important was that such was detected and investigation on the source in order to control further spread were being worked-out.
Meanwhile, she disclosed that the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) already sent samples from the monkeys to Japan and Australia for confirmatory tests.
To ensure the safety of 25 personnel in the unnamed facility, Garin said blood samples were collected from employees and were sent to the RITM for ERV antibodies using ELISA (Enzyme Immunosorbent assay).
The results yielded negative for ERV.
She added that DOH would continue monitoring the health status of the staff employed in the facility where the monkey stays.
The department also provided them with personal protective equipment while the monitoring is on-going.