Ebola patient’s dog under medical surveillance

635488001526624805-635487993515740274-1013-ninaphamoneKHOU – by Rebecca Lopez

DALLAS — Men in full protective suits helped remove a King Charles Spaniel Monday from the apartment of Dallas nurse Nina Pham, who was diagnosed with Ebola on Saturday.

Texas A&M veterinary experts are monitoring the dog named Bentley.

“There is great concern about how to protect this dog; how to treat this dog humanely while protecting the public,” said Dr. Eleanor Green, A&M’s dean of veterinary medicine.  

There is also concern from Pham’s neighbor’s about whether the dog is contagious, and questions were raised about what fluids and waste the pet may have been left on the ground.

“I know she’s a responsible dog owner and always picks up after her dog should something be left behind; I don’t know if that’s how my dog could contract Ebola,” the neighbor said.

The question of whether dogs transfer Ebola to other dogs — or to humans — is still up for debate. There just isn’t enough research.

“There is no evidence… no evidence that a dog can transmit this disease to people by licking or any other means,” Green said.

But a study conducted by a doctor in France and published by Centers for Disease Control in 2005 says otherwise.

The French investigation examined 439 dogs exposed to Ebola and found:

“Canine Ebola infection must be considered as a potential risk factor for human infection and virus spread. Human infection could occur through licking, biting or grooming.”

Those caring for Bentley say he will not become a research animal to test any theory. “There are no plans to experiment on this dog,” Green said. “Our only plan is to take care of the person’s pet.”

A CDC expert told News 8 he questions the conclusion of the French study and thinks it is unlikely Bentley is infected because Pham immediately quarantined herself, and the dog had little exposure at the time his owner would have been contagious.

The dog will be monitored for at least 21 days. Those handling the pet will be in full protective gear during that time.


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