Small chance Ebola virus will reach Philippines - WHO

by NIna Corpuz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 03 2014 07:51 PM | Updated as of Apr 04 2014 03:51 AM

MANILA - There is no travel ban to Africa amid the spread of the Ebola virus in some remote areas of Africa, a World Health Organization (WHO) official said.

"No travel restrictions at all. No travel ban, no closing of borders. We've seen before. We know how to contain these outbreaks," said Dr. Julie Hall, WHO country representative to the Philippines.

Reports said more than 100 have contracted the deadly virus in Guinea, West Africa, of whom 80 have died.

Hall added Guinea is a fairly remote area in Africa and there is no direct flight and very little travel between Guinea and the Philippines.

"The chances of the disease coming to the Philippines are very small, because they get very sick, very quickly," she said.

According to the Department of Health, the Ebola virus has 5 distinct species: Zaire, Sudan, Cote d’Ivoire, Bundibugyo, and Reston.

The species Zaire, Sudan and Ivory Coast can cause hemorrhagic symptoms, while Reston does not.

Dr. Vito Roque of the National Epidemiology Center - Department of Health said Reston was found among Philippine monkeys in the 1990s and in sick pigs in 2008. He said the virus won’t directly hit humans.

Also, “it's highly remote na makapunta dito ang ebola sa Africa. Historically, wala," added Roque.