Concern over Ebola virus in pigs

A form of Ebola virus has been detected in pigs for the first time, raising concerns it could mutate and pose a new risk to humans.

Ebola-Reston virus (REBOV) has only previously been seen in monkeys and humans – and has not caused illness.

But researchers are concerned that pigs might provide a melting pot where the virus could mutate into something more menacing for humans.

The new discovery – in the Philippines – is featured in the journal Science.

However, the researchers, from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, stress that the virus at present appears to pose no risk to humans.

It has been detected in farm workers who tend the infected pigs, and they have shown no signs of illness.

However, writing in Science, the researchers said: “REBOV infection in domestic swine raises concern about the potential for emerging disease in humans and a wider range of livestock.

“There is concern that its passage through swine may allow REBOV to diverge and shift its potential for pathogenicity.”

REBOV belongs to the family of filoviruses which usually target primates…