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