Following weeks of collaborating with public health agencies and experts from around the country, The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has issued guidance for health officials handling the pets of people exposed to the Ebola virus.
The 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 afterwards in Dallas, where a nurse with a dog tested positive for Ebola. Unlike in Spain, the dog in Dallas was placed in quarantine for 21 days and released after showing no symptoms and twice testing negative for the virus.
In response, the AVMA convened several working groups with the USDA, CDC, and other health 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.
The AVMA said the development of this guidance was a long process due to its novel and complex nature, as well as the lack of scientific data on Ebola and companion animals currently available. But this morning the following documents were posted online for 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.
- IInterim 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 for veterinarians, health officials, and the public on its website at www.avma.org/Ebola. The AVMA will be continuously monitoring these resources and updating them as more information becomes available.