The AVMA has just posted online two new documents that provide guidance for health officials handling the pets of people exposed to the Ebola virus.
This guidance has been in development since early October, when a dog in Spain was euthanized after its owner became sick from the Ebola virus. A similar case emerged shortly after that in Dallas, where a nurse with a dog tested positive for Ebola. Unlike in Spain, the dog (Bentley) in Dallas was placed in quarantine for 21 days and released after showing no signs and twice testing negative for the virus.
The AVMA convened several working groups with the USDA, CDC, and other agencies and experts to develop guidance for public health officials on how to assess, handle, and monitor companion animals that may have been exposed to the virus. It’s been a long process, due to the novel and complex nature of these guidelines, as well as the lack of scientific data on Ebola and companion animals currently available, but we’re pleased to provide the following new guidance documents available to AVMA members:
- Interim Guidance for Public Health Officials on Pets of Ebola Virus Disease Contacts provides guidance for the management of pets, specifically dogs and cats, owned by Ebola virus contacts.
- Interim Guidance for Dog or Cat Quarantine After Exposure to a Human with Confirmed Ebola Virus Disease describes the process for conducting a risk assessment for exposure of dogs and cats that had contact with a human with laboratory-confirmed evidence of Ebola, and it describes how to implement quarantine of dogs or cats if deemed appropriate by state and federal human and animal health officials.
In addition to these documents, the AVMA has a number of resources available on its website at www.avma.org/Ebola. There you can find Ebola virus resources for veterinarians, including a checklist on how to proceed if confronted with a client or patient with possible Ebola exposure, and a pet owner’s guide to Ebola exposure that can be used as a client resource. The site also contains Ebola-related information for pet owners and the public, including a recently updated FAQ document. These resources will be continually monitored and updated as more information becomes available, so check back for the latest information.