OCT. 13, 2014 UPDATE: The Ebola patient has been identified as Nina Pham of Dallas. Her dog appears to be a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.
Unlike Excalibur, an Ebola patient’s dog who, despite hundreds of thousands of protests, was euthanized in Madrid last week, a Dallas dog in a similar situation will be allowed to live.
The health care worker at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital — who is the first person to become infected with the deadly virus in the United States — is a dog mom.
“This was a new twist,” Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings told USA TODAY. “The dog’s very important to the patient and we want it to be safe.”
Before the patient’s apartment is decontaminated, Brad Smith, of the hazmat emergency response company CG Environmental, told USA TODAY he will work with the SPCA and Dallas animal control officials to remove (and likely quarantine) the dog.
“We’ll assist with that,” he said. “We have the (personal protection equipment) that needs to be worn.”
According to the Dallas Morning News, a hazmat team member entered the apartment early this evening, and gave the dog food and water. The dog has no signs of the virus.
While dogs in West Africa have tested positive for Ebola, there are no documented cases of dogs transmitting it to people.
Along with hundreds of thousands of protesters, Javier Limon Romero, the husband of the Ebola patient in Madrid, had urged officials not to kill their dog and to quarantine him instead. But Madrid health officials insisted that “available scientific knowledge indicates there’s a risk the dog could transmit the deadly virus to humans,” according to the Associated Press (AP).
“There’s prudence and then there’s, ‘Let’s kill it so we don’t have to think about it,'” wrote Dr. Scott Weese, of the Ontario Veterinary College’s Centre for Public Health and Zoonoses, in the Worms & Germs Blog regarding the Excalibur’s euthanization. “The Spanish response to Ebola in a nursing assistant is a demonstration of the latter.”
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) spokesman Thomas Skinner told the New York Times the center recommends that Ebola patients with dogs or cats should “’evaluate the animal’s risk of exposure” — seeing if the pet ingested bodily fluids from the patient, such as vomit, feces or blood. If so, the pet should be monitored for 21 days, which is the incubation period for Ebola.
Photo via USA TODAY