The following questions and answers below have summarized from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website. For further questions please refer to their website.
The ongoing epidemic of Ebola in West Africa has raised several questions about how the disease affects the animal population and the risk to household pets. While the information available suggests that the virus may be found in several kinds of animals, the CDC, the US department of Agriculture, and the American Veterinary Medical Association do not believe that pets are at significant risk or Ebola in the United States.
How are animals involved in Ebola outbreaks?
Because the natural reservoir host of Ebola has not yet been confirmed, the way in which the virus first appears in a human at the start of an outbreak is unknown. However, scientists believe that the first patient becomes infected though contact with an infected animal, such as a fruit bat or primate, which is called a spillover event. Person-to-person transmission follows and can lead to large numbers of affected people. In some past Ebola outbreaks, primates were also affected by Ebola, and multiple spillover events occurred when people touched or ate infected primates. In the current West African epidemic, animals have not been found to be a factor in ongoing Ebola transmission.
How does Ebola spread?
When infection occurs in humans, the virus can be spread in several ways to others. Ebola is spread through direct contact with blood or bodily fluids, needles and syringes that have been contaminated with the virus, handling bush meat (like monkeys and apes), and contact with infected bats. Only a few mammals have shown the ability to become infected with and spread Ebola virus. There is no evidence that mosquitos or other insects can transmit Ebola virus.
Can dogs get infected or sick with Ebola?
At this time, there have been no reports of dogs or cats becoming sick with Ebola or of being able to spread Ebola to people or other animals. Even in areas in Africa there have been no reports of dogs and cats becoming sick with Ebola. There is limited evidence that dogs become infected with Ebola virus, but there is no evidence that they develop disease.
Are our dogs and cats at risk of becoming sick with Ebola in the United States?
The risk of an Ebola outbreak affecting multiple people in the United States is very low. Therefore the risk to pets is also very low, as they would have to come into contact with blood and body fluids of a person with Ebola. Even in areas in Arica where Ebola is present, there have been no reports of dogs and cats becoming sick with Ebola.
Can I get Ebola from my dog or cat?
At this time, there have been no reports of dogs or cats becoming sick with Ebola or of being able to spread Ebola to people or animals. The chances of a dog or cat being exposed to Ebola virus in the United States is very low as they would have to come into contact with blood and body fluids of a person infected with Ebola.
Can my pet’s body, fur, or paws spread Ebola to a person?
No one known yet whether or not a pet’s body, paws, or fur can pick up and spread Ebola to people or other animals.
What if there is a pet in the home of an Ebola patient?
The CDC recommends that public health officials in collaboration with a veterinarian evaluate the pet’s risk of exposure to the virus. Based on this evaluation as well as the specific situation, local and state human and animal health officials will determine how the pet should be handled.
Can my dog or cat be tested for Ebola?
Currently, no routine testing for Ebola is available for pets
What are the requirements for bringing pets or other animals into the United States from West Africa?
CDC regulations require that dogs and cats imported into the United States be healthy. Dogs must be vaccinated against rabies before arrival into the United States. Monkeys and African rodents are not allowed to be imported as pets under any circumstances.
Can monkeys spread Ebola?
Yes, monkeys are at risk for Ebola. Monkeys should not be allowed to have contact with anyone who may have Ebola. Healthy monkeys already living in the United States and without exposure to a person infected with Ebola are not at risk for spreading Ebola.
Can bats spread Ebola?
Fruit bats in Africa are considered to be a natural reservoir for Ebola. Bats in North America are not known to carry Ebola and so the CDC considers the risk of an Ebola outbreak from bats occurring in the United States to be very low. However, bats are known to carry rabies and other diseases. To reduce the risk of disease transmission, never attempt to touch a bat, living or dead.