Officials in Dallas won’t kill dog belonging to nurse with Ebola

Ebola patient USA

Photo: AP. Home of nurse infected with Ebola.

Although this is a dog story, I feel it crosses over into those of us who care for cats. When I saw Michael’s story on whether ebola is transmissible between cats and humans, I knew I had to bring everyone this update from Dallas, Texas.

Right now, Ebola is the most feared word in the English language. And for good reason, as the virus is doing things no one saw coming. With this potentially deadly outbreak, which does seem to be what’s happening now outside of Africa, many people are worried about what would happen to their pets, should they become infected.

One person who doesn’t have to worry is Nina Pham, the 26 year old nurse who cared for Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan. Thomas died last week, and now Nina has been diagnosed as having Ebola. Nina is receiving the best of care, including a blood transfusion from American Ebola survivor Dr. Kent Brantly.

It’s believed there was a breach in procedure as Nina was removing her personal protective equipment (PPE) after caring for Thomas, and this error caused her to become infected.

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings was recently interviewed by USA Today, where he assured the animal lovers who learned Nina has a dog….

“The dog’s very important to the patient, and we want it to be safe.”

According to Time magazine, cats are immune to the Ebola virus. But what about dogs? The debate is on as to whether dogs can come down with Ebola, be an asymptomatic carrier or directly pass the infection on to humans who come in close contact with the animal. The CDC has even stated on their website that

“…researchers have hypothesized that the first patient becomes infected through contact with an infected animal.”

Imagine how many people wouldn’t come forward for something as minor as influenza, should word go out that cats and dogs belonging to those suspected of being infected will be euthanized rather than quarantined to watch for symptoms. For this reason alone the decision to not euthanize this dog was a good one. People in the United States generally an animal-loving people. What happens to a pet directly affects its caregiver.

I feel Dallas has made a good decision in not only stating Nina’s dog won’t be killed, but to go as far as to say a pet is important to a patient who is trying to overcome a deadly illness.

As for the Ebola virus, a community can best serve its residents by remaining calm and keeping a clear head. A lot of people have compared Ebola to the first years of AIDS, when many argued it would be best to keep the infected in guarded compounds. I still remember reading several articles as a young woman concerning whether cats and dogs could spread the HIV virus.

It was good to read Nina will still have her dog waiting for her after she recovers and can return home. Let’s hope the rest of the country will follow suit, should the Ebola virus continue to spread.


P.S. I’ve read just enough pandemic novels to have a healthy suspicion that this country needs to have a better line of defence in protecting the public. Too many mistakes are being made, and this may only be the beginning. In other words, wash your hands thoroughly everyone. There are many nasty bugs out there, besides Ebola, and stringent hygiene plays a major role in keeping well.

Source: Dogster website

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Officials in Dallas won’t kill dog belonging to nurse with Ebola — 51 Comments

  1. They have on the news this morning about 70 workers helped care for Thomas Duncan before he died. This gets scarier every day.

  2. So happy the dog wasn’t killed.
    As you wrote, the backlash from killing the dog would have been horrific, because caretakers would be afraid to come forward if they were ill.
    I, for one, would have to be shackled and carried out of here or dead.

    • We are in a governmental panic here too. We have just started testing all people who come into the country from West Africa through Gatwick and Heathrow (the major airports). Late in the day.

      I am pleased the dog was spared but dogs can get ebola as far as I know. Quarantine is the answer.

      • Hilariously, the test on arriving at Heathrow is

        Border Staff “Have you come from or recently been to West Africa?”

        Traveller “No”

        Border Staff “Pass through freely please”

        Really. Not only that, if a traveller doesn’t fancy being asked questions, they are still able to just walk through another gate. As told to me yesterday by a friend who returned from South Africa two days ago. I’ve read that if someone shows signs of a fever or flu, then they will get their temperature taken if they have come from West Africa. Not really enough is it. Surely it would make more sense to test on exit from countries where the disease exists?

        As for dogs, I gather that dogs can test positive for the virus but have not been observed as showing symptoms. With humans, it’s when they start showing symptoms that they are most active as vectors, shedding the virus in body fluids.

        Already the UK media have started making comments about “Cats, dogs and other animals being a danger” These unqualified comments might give rise to the kind of hell cats went through when FIV was discovered. I hope not. But people seem to lap up the media outpourings and rarely think beyond it.

        • Governmental chaos as usual. It is pathetically ineffective and inefficient. Personally I tend to believe the thing to do is lock down – no flights from these countries until Ebola is contained in West Africa. That would take about 4 months it seems – perhaps much longer. For the sake of humanity we cannot let Ebola infect other countries. It is going to cost billions to control it in Africa.

          A neighboring country, Ivory Coast, say they have no cases of Ebola. This is highly unlikely as there is a lot trade between these countries. What if they are hiding the truth?

          • Michael, it’s Africa, a continent so riddled with corruption within each of its governments, we’d be millionaires if we put a bet on them hiding the truth.

            I agree on lockdown for all countries affected. Currently many communities are sinking into even deeper poverty, because no one is going out, no one is selling, working – ergo, no money. The governments of Africa have a lot of wealth, it’s about time they started spending it on their own people, instead of gold Rolls Royces.

            Last night on Newsnight (BBC) there was a segment about Ebola. A woman from the Women Of Africa organisation took part. Her main and most important point was to express her frustration at the response of the African nations where Ebola has a grip and is rampant. She said that despite several African governments stating that the rest of the world was doing little to help them, the real problem is that the African governments have done (with the exception of Nigeria) precisely, nothing, either to contain the spread or treat those affected. All the work has been done by other countries.

            One of the issues I find so sad about the media coverage of this outbreak is that we know the individual stories of those in America and Europe who have been infected. Just like the 3000 who died on 9/11, memorials, tributes galore. I am not saying that this was wrong, I think it’s right to honour the dead. But how many stories of individuals in Africa have been properly commemorated? The numbers are tiny.

            Again on Newsnight, was a film showing individual Africans speaking in beautifully lit footage, about their losses and the stigma attached to even being related to someone who died of Ebola. Their very sad words were put up as graphics on the screen, but no one was named. Not one person was even given a first name. Even a fake name, if those individuals were worried about stigma and exposure, would have given the piece a much more humane message.

            Four thousand have died now I believe. I wonder how many of their stories will ever be properly told?

            • Totally agree with all you say. Africa is a disastrous mess. We almost expect people to die at 50 (max) and in their thousands in Africa. We expect wildlife to be decimated. We expect mass corruption and anarchy. We cannot fix it. The West is broke. We have little motivation. It’s the end game almost. Horrible mess.

  3. Well, no virus that causes disease in humans has ever been known to mutate to change its mode of transmission. So, it’s unlikely that Ebola will mutate to become airborne.
    But, since it has mutated more than 300 times since the beginning of this outbreak, there is some sketicism ofcourse.
    But, today, Ebola isn’t airborne, waterborne, or foodborne.
    Should Ebola ever become airborne, I doubt that we would be told because of the level of panic it would cause. I wouldn’t want to know myself, because it would mean the end of civilization.

  4. They told on the. Morning news that the virus appears to be coming more contagious. I just worry because about every hundred years an illness comes along with wipe out a good portion of the population. 1918 was the last so we’re about due. I worked 3 years in security in the emergency room at a trauma center so I know how hospitals prepare.

    • I agree with you. There is still so much ‘not known’ yet. This makes me think of that movie that was out in the 90’s called ‘OUTBREAK’. About a monkey that has the Motaba virus and starts spreading to humans and within days of getting the virus people were dying at an alarming rate. Think i am going to have ice cream for breakfast. Have a cattastic day.

    • Very unlikely, but if this virus should ever go airborne, waterborne, or foodborne, there would be no preparation that would be affective. Hospitals would never be equipped to handle that. By the time that aspect was discovered, it would have affected millions.
      And, unless you want to live your life in a steel underground shelter, collect all the meds you can to do yourself in. Plan your course of demise.

      But, Ebola will never mutate to the point of changing it’s means of transmission. The panic needs to stop immediately.

  5. There is an online petition going around now to demand all flights coming in and going to this country that has the outbreak of Ebola be stopped until there is understanding and control of what actually we are dealing with. This is very serious and very scary. Glad the dog was spared. I am unsure just what makes this dog different than the other dog euthanized days ago. Anyone know? Thanks for this story. You guys have a cattastic day.

    • I think it will depend on officials in each county that gets a confirmed case. Another part of the county could get a case and decide to kill the pets in the home.

      • I then think it all is born of irrational fear whether to kill animals off in one location and not in another. That is telling me that no one really knows what we are dealing with at this time. So, to err on the side of caution, lets just kill this pet. More conformity in thought is needed i think. This could turn ugly real quick.

          • “lets just kill this pet” a perfect method of showing that something is being “done” when they are at a loss as to how to save human lives.

            Human lives under threat? Kill all the animals.

            Have you ever heard of the hundreds of thousands of domestic pets who were taken to the vets to be killed at the outbreak of WW2?

            http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-24478532

            I bet you have and covered it already!

            It was an astonishing event. I hope we don’t see that level of government/group hysteria due to Ebola, but the hilarious screening schedule at our airports, tells me anything is possible 🙁

      • I also found this rather fascinating as this doctor spoke on Fox5 to Gretchen Carlson.

        The CDC maintains the Ebola virus can only be spread through contact with bodily fluids.

        One doctor, however, told Gretchen Carlson today that it’s time to start preparing for the possibility that the virus could start spreading by air.

        Dr. David Sanders, top Ebola virologist and Purdue University professor of biological science, explained that a very closely related virus is known to spread among animals via the air.

        Sanders also pointed to the way in which the virus enters the body.

        “Our own research shows that Ebola Zaire enters human lung cells from the airway side. So it has the inherent capacity to enter the lung from the airway. I’m not saying that there’s any evidence that the current spread is due to anything but bodily fluid contact, but we have to consider the possibility that it can enter through an airway route,” said Sanders, adding that the virus can “morph” or “mutate” as the outbreak continues in Africa.

        He recommended that more regional centers be set up, with “robust training” for the workers in those locations to deal with Ebola patients.

        • Airborne (not likely at all) would be the end of civilization.
          Body fluid contamination is correct. But, keep in mind that this includes dropletborne. A snot rag from an infected person would put you at risk. I think this virus can live outside the body for about 90 minutes.

          • Ok, in what context do you mean? Sorry, don’t mean to sound a stupid, i just know very little about this. Do you mean touching the snot rag or just being around it could have potential danger?

            • Transmission happens when the virus enters the body from an open cut or by way of mucous membranes, which are found in the nose, mouth, eye, rectum, and vagina.
              Being around a snot rag isn’t going to be a problem. If you touch the item and, then, pick your nose or rub your eye you will likely infect yourself.
              As Elisa has already written… handwash, handwash, handwash…If you must come in contact with body fluids, don’t touch without gloves.
              But, should an infected person suddenly throw up all over you, you’re sh-t out of luck!

              • Again…
                Well, no virus that causes disease in humans has ever been known to mutate to change its mode of transmission. So, it’s unlikely that Ebola will mutate to become airborne.
                But, since it has mutated more than 300 times since the beginning of this outbreak, there is some sketicism ofcourse.
                But, today, Ebola isn’t airborne, waterborne, or foodborne.
                Should Ebola ever become airborne, I doubt that we would be told because of the level of panic it would cause. I wouldn’t want to know myself, because it would mean the end of civilization.

                • I wouldn’t want to know myself, because it would mean the end of civilization.

                  Nature would smile at the prospect. When you think about it, Dee, humankind is only a cat’s whisker away from catastrophe. We do seem to be rather careless with our survival.

    • I don’t know but I would be surprised if dogs and other animals are not immune and cats are. It does not make much sense to me but I haven’t seen the reasoning behind that theory. Cats have similar anatomies to ours. That said very few diseases are zoonotic – cat to human.

      We are learning about ebola and it is a bit late.

  6. I think people with fevers should be screened before entering the hospital. I am not sure how they would set this up exactly, something similar to the airport check. If a person was suspected of having Ebola, they would be guided to the proper area in hospital.

  7. I think Every Country should have some form of protection at the Airport to help stop the spread. The thing that amazes me is some people think its the Government has done it on purpose. Which im not sure of. As this Virus has been around since 1970. Im 39 so its been like kinda been alive for 45 Years. Abit scarey really.

  8. A 2nd worker in Texas has tested positive. How do you go back and locate every patient that worker has helped at the hospital since the ebola patient died. Every person that worker has come into contact with for more than a week,

    • There are at least 77 more workers being monitored from the Presbytarian hospital in Texas.

      It’s interesting that 5 infected patients have been/are being treated in a Nebraska hospital and not one worker has been infected.

      All hospitals are required to follow CDC protocols when dealing with these kinds of situations. It seems to me that the Texas hospital must have breached precaution requirements. (Are we surprised? This is Texas!). I think all subsequent infected healthcare workers need to be flown out of Texas to more compliant hospitals.

      • The Texas hospital has been found to have breached protocols badly. For example, the first patient who died was left on a hospital trolley in the corridor or ward for 2 hours. As I recall the staff who initially treated him did not wear protective clothes.

        • Exactly.
          Some of us in the States see Texas as a country of their own. They don’t care about rules or, even life, for the most part. They make their own rules and defy any regulations (that’s one of the reasons Jimbo/Woody may be the way he is)
          So, if anyone cares about their life, the lives of loved ones, or the lives of animals RUN, RUN, RUN out of Texas.

        • Miichael I worked security in an ER and I can tell you back in 2009 when I left people who came in very sick were still sitting in the waiting room hours later. I remember going to the supply cabinet and getting some of them a throw up pan and a wet washcloth. The whole ER system at most hospitals is overwhelmed.

    • Thanks for the update Elisa.
      The conclusion that dogs can become infected resulted from ONE French study done in 2005. Hardly, enough evidence to sentence them to death. And, there have been no studies done to confirm that if a dog should become infected that he can transmit to any entity.
      The answers to these questions should have been known 30 some years ago.
      I’m happy that this dog hasn’t been killed though.

      • Thanks for that Dee, interesting. On the TV this evening a Liberian official said there are less bodies being collected! Can we believe him? The West African countries where Ebola exists want to play it down. This is dangerous for all of us.

        • Ofcourse, they may want to down play it. There’s worldwide hysteria going on, and they are being blamed just like Haiti was blamed for HIV.
          The panic really needs to settle so people can think clearly.
          The blame rests on those people who should have been doing the research 38 years ago. The CDC needs to stop coming off as lily white too, because it was their job to stay on top of any contagious disease. Most likely, they just ignored it because it wasn’t in their own back yard until now.

          • Yes, agreed. We can also blame the West for pumping billions into Africa without ensuring it actually makes the continent better in the long term. Countries like Sierra Leone have appallingly poor health care systems. They have 1000 doctors. 100 of them are in the UK! And hundreds of their nurses are in the UK. We are stealing the medical staff who are needed to help contain Ebola. It is an upside down world.

  9. Pingback: Urine and feces of dog belonging to Ebola nurse to be tested for virus | Elisa's Examiner

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