With the Ebola outbreak making its way west, many fear that it will become the Black Plague of the 21st century. Just as we fear for our own safety, we fear for the health of our pets. After the dog of the Spanish healthcare worker that contracted Ebola was euthanatized and the King Charles Spaniel belonging to a Texas healthcare worker was kept in isolation after it was discovered that she too had contracted the deadly disease, it leaves many pet owners questioning the safety of their pet.
To help calm fears over the spread of Ebola in the United States, the Centers for Disease Control have compiled the following information:
- While fears of Ebola are at an all-time high, it is a very rare possibly that you will contract the disease. Ebola is not a food or air-borne illness. The disease can only be contracted from touching blood, body fluids or contaminated objects of an Ebola patient.
- Since there have been on a small number of isolated Ebola cases in humans and none in animals in the United States, the risk of exposure is very minimal.
- There was not been enough research conducted to know if it is possible for dogs to contract or transmit Ebola.
- Healthcare workers treating an infected patient and close friends and family are at the highest risk for contacting the illness. In Africa, the disease can spread through the handling of bush meat and infected bats.
- In the rare case that a pet is exposed to the virus, the Centers for Disease Control recommends that if a pet is in the home of an Ebola patient, veterinarians, in collaboration with public health officials, should evaluate the pet’s risk of exposure. Based on the results of the evaluation, appropriate measures and monitoring the pet will take place.
While many fear Ebola, there is no significant risk of you or your pet falling victim to the disease in the United States.