Ebola and Pets
Although there have been human cases of Ebola in the U.S., these cases resulted from direct contact with a person infected with the Ebola virus and showing obvious signs of illness. Ebola is a zoonotic disease, because it can be passed between certain animals and people. Ebola may have originally spread to humans from infected fruit bats, apes or monkeys but is now primarily spread from person to person through direct contact. Although a study has shown that some dogs in Africa have been exposed to the Ebola virus, there is no evidence that they become ill or spread the disease to people or other animals. In the current West African outbreak, animals have not been found to be a factor in the ongoing spread of the disease.
Ebola is NOT spread through the air or water or by mosquitoes. You or your pet would need to be exposed directly to the blood or body fluids of a person or animal that is infected with Ebola in order to be at risk for infection.
Just as the risk of you becoming infected with Ebola is very low, your pet’s risk of becoming infected with Ebola is extremely low, especially when you compare this risk to the preventable, yet deadly, diseases like parvo, distemper, and rabies to which our pets may regularly be exposed. The American Veterinary Medical Association, CDC, and the US Department of Agriculture do not believe that pets are at significant risk for Ebola in the United States.
Protect yourself and your pets:
- It’s always a good idea to avoid contact with people or animals that are obviously ill, regardless of what may be making them sick. This includes their blood and body fluids.
- Although bats in the U.S. are not known carriers of Ebola, they can carry rabies. Contact with bats should be avoided as a general rule.
- While not a common menu item for most of us, there are people who eat bushmeat (wild animal meat) that may be imported from Africa. This is a potential source of infection, so you should avoid eating any of this meat.
- If you have been exposed to someone infected with Ebola, or if you feel you may be infected, contact your physician immediately.
- If your pet has been exposed to someone infected with Ebola, contact your veterinarian immediately.
- If your pet is ill – regardless of the cause – or if you have questions about your pet’s health, contact your veterinarian.
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Brought to you by the American Veterinary Medical Association and your veterinarian