There has been a lot of controversy and questions since, Excalibur, Ebola-positive Spanish nurse’s Teresa Romero Ramos’ dog was euthanized last week by Madrid Health authorities.
So the question is, are dogs a risk for Ebola transmission to humans?
Short answer: We just don’t know.
The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) released a document one week ago concerning Ebola Virus Disease (EVD), and sections concerning “transmission to humans” and “Natural hosts” say the following:
Ebola is a disease transmitted from wild animals to humans most likely through hunting and collection of sick or dead wild animals and handling or consumption of uncooked bush meat.
Field studies and epidemiological surveys in Africa have demonstrated widespread antibody prevalence to Ebolaviruses in fruit bats suggesting that fruit bats may be natural hosts for EBOV. When bats and other vertebrate species were experimentally inoculated, only bats became infected and shed virus in feces without showing any clinical signs.
Monkeys are not considered as natural hosts because of their high sensitivity to the virus and their high mortality rate when infected.
The related Marburg virus has been isolated from fruit bats (Roussettus aegyptiacus) in Uganda.
The role of pigs in EVD epidemiology is unclear. There is no evidence that domestic animals play an active epidemiological role in the transmission of the disease to humans.
However, this topic has received some study and in an 2005 paper by researchers at the Centre International de Recherches Médicales de Franceville, Franceville, Gabon; the Centre Pasteur du Cameroun, Yaoundé, Cameroun; and the Institut de Recherche pour le Développement, Paris, France, titled Ebola Virus Antibody Prevalence in Dogs and Human Risk, published in Emerging Infectious Diseases, they had a little different take on it saying there is the potential.
In the discussion portion of the paper they write:
So clearly, as this outbreak continues and more and more questions arise we are learning there is still so much to be learned.
We did learn this morning that the dog that belongs to the 2nd Ebola case in Dallas and 1st locally contracted case ever in the United States, the yet unnamed female nurse from Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas, will not be euthanized.
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