Domestic pigs transmit deadly ebola virus

A TYPE of Ebola virus from Zaire (ZEBOV), which is highly virulent and usually lethal in humans, can replicate in pigs and transmit through a herd, research shows.

Infected pigs were seen to shed the virus for up to 14 days, when pigs living in the same pen also became infected.

“Domesticated pigs are susceptible to ZEBOV infection following mucosal challenge and… transmission was confirmed to all naive pigs cohabiting with inoculated animals,” the study concluded.

ZEBOV infection in pigs could also be “mistaken for other porcine respiratory diseases”.

A study involving pig farmers in the Philippines found they carried antibodies for Reston Ebola virus, suggesting pigs could also transmit virulent Ebola virus to humans. 

J Infect Dis 2011, online 12 May