updated 7/9/2009 2:03:48 PM ET 2009-07-09T18:03:48

A form of ebola virus has been detected in pigs for the first time, raising concerns it could mutate and threaten humans, scientists report.

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Reston ebolavirus has only been seen in monkeys and humans previously and, unlike other types of ebola, it is not known to cause illness in people.

The discovery of REBOV in pigs in the Philippines is reported in Friday's edition of the journal Science.

Researchers say it is theoretically possible for the virus to mutate in pigs into a form that might sicken people.

However, they noted that while some of the farm workers tending the pigs also had become infected, they showed no signs of illness.

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