Government on alert vs Ebola-carrying animals

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Wednesday, August 6, 2014


WILDLIFE authorities have been put on alert against the illegal entry and smuggling of wild animals from Africa into the Philippines due to rising cases of deadly Ebola virus in the continent.

Environment Secretary Ramon Paje tasked Wednesday all personnel from the Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB) assigned in airports and seaports nationwide to strictly monitor all imported wild animals and exotic pets, particularly those coming from Ebola-hit countries of Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

He said infection has been documented through the handling of infected chimpanzees, gorillas, fruit bats, monkeys, forest antelope and porcupines found ill or dead or in the rainforest.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) had stopped issuing permits for wild animals imported from Africa in 2006, "so any shipment coming from any part of Africa is outright illegal," Paje said.

He also called on the public to refrain from keeping wild animals as pets given their potential serious risk to human health.

More than 800 people have already died from the virus as the Department of Health (DOH) said the current mortality rate is at 55 percent.

There is no known cure for the virus, whose symptoms include fever, headache, intense weakness, joint and muscle pains, sore throat, impaired kidney and liver function and internal and external bleeding. (Sunnex)

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