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Veterinarians' group issues advice on quarantine and handling pets that may catch Ebola

11/12/2014 12:02 EST | Updated 01/12/2015 05:59 EST
NEW YORK, N.Y. - Pets that have been in close contact with Ebola-infected people should be quarantined and — if they test positive — euthanized, according to new guidance issued Wednesday by a veterinarians' group.

The American Veterinary Medical Association compiled the guidance after a dog in Spain was euthanized because its owner contracted Ebola and a dog belonging to an infected nurse in Dallas was quarantined and then released.

The guidelines say a pet that may have been infected should be quarantined, away from other animals, for 21 days. The animal's handlers should wear protective equipment similar to what's worn by hospital workers who treat Ebola patients.

Ebola testing for animals must be authorized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the group said. If an animal does test positive, it should be killed and the body incinerated, the guidelines say.

Scientists believe Ebola can be transmitted to people through infected animals, and the first human infections in Africa are believed to have come through contact with fruit bats, apes or monkeys.

The CDC says there have been no reports of dogs or cats becoming sick with Ebola or being able to spread it to people or other animals. But health officials say they don't know whether a pet's paws, fur or other body parts can pick up and transmit the virus.

Ebola is spread person-to-person through direct contact with blood or other body fluids from someone sick with the virus.

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Online:

CDC Ebola-pets page: http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/transmission/qas-pets.html

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