From ANIMAL PEOPLE, July 1996:
The Philippines on June 10 lifted
a ban on monkey exports in effect since
March 21, when Ebola virus was discovered
in two out of 50 crab-eating macaques sold to
the South Texas Primate Center in Alice,
Texas, as one shipment of a lot of 100, by the
Philippine firm Ferlite Scientific Research Inc.
One macaque died of the disease, another was
definitely infected, and the remainder were
killed to keep the lethal virus from spreading.
Of the five Philippine monkey breeding companies,
only Ferlite remains under quarantine.
Ferlite, exporter of about 400 of the 2,500
monkeys the Philippines sells each year, was
also the source of the only previous Ebola outbreak
in the U.S., which was contained at a
primate center in Reston, Virgina, in 1989.
The disease is believed to have come into the
Ferlite colony with wild-caught monkeys.
The Ebola strain involved is less deadly than
the strain that killed 245 of 316 known victims
in Zaire in 1995 and 13 people in Gabon, the
last of whom died nine days before the Alice
outbreak was discovered. Of the three
Americans at the Reston center and 14
Filipinos at three monkey farms who have
shown antibodies to Ebola in tests done
between 1989 and 1993, none have actually
become ill. Because Ebola is rare and has
only been medically identified for about a
decade, it is still little understood, but a possible
breakthrough came when Louisiana State
University Medical Center researcher William
R. Gallaher announced in the May 17 edition
of the journal Cell that analysis of viral protein
sequences shows a similarity between
Ebola and the HIV virus linked with AIDS.
Ohio state health director Peter
Somani confirmed on June 6 that the raccoon
rabies strain causing the Mid-Atlantic
Raccoon Rabies Pandemic underway since
hunters translocated rabid raccoons from
Florida to West Virginia in 1977 has turned up
in Mahoning County––the farthest west the
strain is known to have migrated. It has been
found in the east from Florida to southern
Vermont and New Hampshire, where it meets
fox rabies, transmitted by animals migrating
down from Canada.
The British House of Commons on
June 4 approved a bill to replace Britain’s
100-year-old mandatory six-month quarantine
of imported dogs and cats with a “pet passport”
system to allow in without quarantine
animals from nations which have no known
rabies, with adequate proof of vaccination.
Momentum may have been lost, however,
when two days later two women––one of them
pregnant, both members of the Sussex Bat
Group, which monitors bat-borne disease––
were bitten while trying to assist a distressed
Daubenton’s bat in southeastern England. The
bat is believed to have somehow crossed the
English Channel from France.