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Home Sections Humor & Satire Pig-Ebola Now in RP and Congressmen Refuse to Accept Malacañang’s Gifts of Ham and “Queso de Ebola”
Pig-Ebola Now in RP and Congressmen Refuse to Accept Malacañang’s Gifts of Ham and “Queso de Ebola” PDF Print E-mail
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Sections - Humor & Satire
Saturday, 27 December 2008 23:53

A merican health experts and WHO authorities are sending an emergency mission to the Philippines after U.S. scientists discovered a strain of the Ebola virus in dead pigs in the archipelago. Previously the virus had only been found in monkeys.

 

In the meantime, wags are having a field day in attributing the cause of the supposed Ebola virus found in pigs. Many people say that Filipino politicians are like swine, as they gobble and eat everything – from pork barrel to government purchases, loans and contracts – that they could get their dirty hands on. They also joke that in spire of their avarice, many Filipino congressmen and local-government officials refused Malacañang Palace’s Christmas presents of ham and “Queso de Ebola”– although they took allegedly the cash portion of the gifts.

 

Columnist Jesse Jose had the nerve to write, “President Pandak and her obese husband, First Gentleman Mike Arroyo, AKA, “Baboy,” in English, “the Pig” . . .

Malacañang Palace appears to be the site where the Pig-Ebola virus originated. Some columnists like the irreverent Jesse Jose have teased First Gentleman Mike Arroyo and called him the (First) “Baboy” (Pig). To read this particular piece of Mr. Jose’s A Cup O' Kapeng Barako  please click on this link, “F” words, “N” Words, “C” Words; Bush Dodges Shoes Hurled at Him

 

Perhaps Mr. Jose and his fellow pundits will now write about the “swine and roses” in Malacañang Palace’s receptions. However, Filipino health authorities deny that the Ebola virus originated from Malacañang Palace and much more from congressional pork barrel. Filipino legislators often use their pork-barrel money in funding swine-dispersal projects in rural areas. Most wags, however, made educated guesses that probably the Ebola virus came from the monkey-business operations of corrupt Filipino government officials, the presidential kin and the palace officials.

 

Health officials say this particular strain, known as the Reston strain—unlike the more-deadly strains of Ebola virus—has never caused human illness or death, and it's not immediately clear there is a public-health issue. It may be more of a public-relations issue if and when the public believes that pork-barrel projects are tainted with the corrupting virus that spread from Malacañang Palace, which some wags describe as the country’s ultimate pigsty insofar as sleaze is concerned.

 

International health officials say it is too early to rule out a possible threat to humans. They expressed concern over the fact that the said incident wasn't made public until a news conference for local media in Manila last week. The threat was first revealed in a recent teleconference between the Philippine government officials and American health authorities.

 

Authorities in the Philippines sought to allay public fears about the spread of the Pig-Ebola virus.

 

Philippine authorities allegedly sent samples from lechon (roasted pigs) served in presidential functions to the New York Animal Disease Center, where scientists detected the presence of diseases, including a devastating pig virus known as porcine reproductive-and-respiratory syndrome, or blue-ear pig disease and a culture of corruption.

Pigs, especially those being raised in farms funded by the Filipino congressmen’s pork barrel, have served as genetic mixing vessels for viruses that pass from animals to humans. This makes the Philippine discovery significant. "When a virus jumps species, in this case from monkeys to pigs, we become concerned, particularly as pigs are much closer to congressmen and senators, oops, humans than monkeys in their ability to harbor viruses," Peter Cordingley was allegedly heard to have said. He is the Western Pacific spokesman for the World Health Organization in Manila.

 

Philippine authorities say they have quarantined affected farms, canceled plans for the country's first official exports of pork, and conducted tests on hog farmers, slaughterhouse workers, Malacañang Palace and congressional offices.

 

Filipino health experts say there have been no signs of human infection in the outbreak. It's unclear whether any infected pigs were sold for consumption. Experts say it could take weeks to determine how the pigs were infected and the threat to humans.

 

According to officials at the WHO, the World Organization for Animal Health and the Philippines' Bureau of Animal Industry, pig farmers in three provinces near the capital of Manila began noticing high rates of sickness and death among their livestock as early as May.

 

In August, Philippine authorities sent samples from the dead pigs to the Plum Island Animal Disease Center in New York, where scientists detected the presence of several diseases, including a devastating pig virus known as porcine reproductive-and-respiratory syndrome, or blue-ear pig disease.

 

Weeks later, during the October 30th teleconference, authorities at the Philippines' Department of Agriculture were notified that scientists had further discovered Ebola Reston virus in six of the 28 pig samples sent to the U.S.

 

The Philippine government waited until Dec. 10 to make the presence of Ebola Reston virus public, citing concern for the pork industry and a lack of evidence that humans were in any danger.

 

D avinio Catbagan is the director for the Philippines' Bureau of Animal Industry. He said the government first consulted with people in the swine industry and only later notified the Department of Health. Mr. Catbagan said authorities were aware of the public-health importance of the recent discovery, but that the available medical literature didn't suggest any threat to humans.

 

The WHO reportedly said it learned of the disease through the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization in late November. Concerns have been deepening across Asia about diseases among stocks of chickens and pigs, including H5N1 avian influenza and blue-ear pig disease. The latest announcement forced the Philippines to abort its first-ever commercial export of pork, which was to be made to Singapore earlier this month.

According to people at the WHO and the Paris-based World Organization for Animal Health, known by its French acronym OIE, Philippine authorities decided to go public only after being pressured by those two groups and the FAO. Dr. Bernard Vallat, director-general of the OIE, said it was "not an easy negotiation" to persuade Philippine authorities to go public with the news.

 

He said the pigs were most likely killed by another disease, but that the presence of the Ebola Reston virus in pigs should be investigated to assess the risk to humans.

 

The Ebola virus comes in five distinct strains, three of which are associated with the high-fatality outbreaks that first appeared in the Congo in 1976. In 1989, scientists discovered what would be known as the Reston strain of the Ebola virus among monkeys imported from the Philippines and kept for research in a laboratory in Reston, VA. A handful of humans were infected in that case, but only one person showed any symptoms but he fully recovered.

 

According to the WHO, the Ebola Reston virus can be identified only by laboratory testing, and anyone eating pork even from healthy pigs should cook the meat thoroughly. Meat from a sick animal should never be eaten. According to the FAO, the Ebola Reston virus is transmitted by air, unlike African strains of the virus which are transmitted through direct contact with bodily fluids. # # #

 



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Last Updated on Saturday, 27 December 2008 23:54
 

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