The Ebola Disease in NYC! Are Your Pets Safe?

BY | October 24 | COMMENTS PUBLISHED BY
The Ebola Disease in NYC! Are Your Pets Safe?

Well, it finally happened. A doctor that recently returned from Guinea tested positive for Ebola on Thursday. What's more, he is now being held in isolation at New York's Bellevue Hospital Center. That's right - the Ebola disease has officially made it's way to the biggest city on the eastern seaboard. As such, a lot of concerns are starting to arise: how do you get Ebola? Am I at risk? What about my pets?As it stands, you are still

3.5 times more likely to be eaten by a shark

 anywhere in the world than you are to contract Ebola in America. And unless you live on

Amity Island

or swim around the ocean with fistfuls of chum, your odds of becoming shark bait are 1 in 3.7 million. That puts your odds of getting Ebola at a staggering

1 in 13.3 million

.

"But isn't the Ebola disease highly contagious?"

You might be asking yourself this. And you are not wrong. In the right circumstances, Ebola can spread like wildfire. However,

those circumstances

happen to be direct contact with blood, saliva, and other bodily excretions of a person showing visible signs of Ebola. It is not an airborne contagion, nor can you catch it from someone that isn't visibly symptomatic. And in America, where we have the resources to actually quarantine people showing signs of infection, the likelihood that you come into contact with anyone carrying the virus are next to zero.

"Well, what are the symptoms?"

"A guy with a runny nose just sneezed on me!" you could be shouting. Well, fear not.

The symptoms of Ebola

are:

  • Fever
  • Severe headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Weakness
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach pain
  • Unexplained hemorrhaging (bleeding or bruising)

"What about my pets? Are they safe?"

A very good question. While people are generally unlikely to handle an infected person's fluids, our dogs and cats tend to be a little more adventurous in regards to what they eat/roll around in.  

One study conducted by the CDC in 2002

states that "dogs can be infected by Ebola virus and that the putative infection is asymptomatic." In layman's terms, that means yes, dogs can contract Ebola, but they do so without showing any symptoms or effects. So while your dog could pick up Ebola and potentially pass it along (the transmission mechanism, if any, is still largely unknown), they themselves will not get sick.As for cats, there are no conclusive studies stating their ability to carry the disease one way or the other.

"What does it all mean?"

All this boils down to one thing - neither you or your pets are in any immediate danger. Yes, Ebola is here. And yes, it is a very scary and serious condition. However, the fact that we live in a fully developed country with state-of-the-art medical facilities gives us a serious leg up in terms of quelling the outbreak of this deadly disease. Just make sure to steer clear of people that look visibly sick (which is just a good idea anyway), practice careful hygiene, and closely monitor what your pet puts in their mouth.

Can Your Dog Get Ebola? The Answer May Surprise You

Can your dog get ebolaThe news

has been running stories nonstop about this latest outbreak of the Ebola virus -- and for good reason. Of the 1,323 reported cases, 932 have been declared dead, making this highly transmittable contagion one of the most lethal.And now that a person with Ebola, Nancy Writebol, has been brought stateside and admitted into a hospital in Atlanta, people in America are finally starting to take notice. Many are concerned about how the outbreak will affect them.But

what about our pets?

Understanding Ebola

dog get ebola
Sergey Uryadnikov / Shutterstock.com

Ebola is a virus that causes the victim to bleed uncontrollably, both internally and externally. The virus takes 3 weeks to fully mature, and during the incubation period the victim often presents with headaches, weakness, a fever, and a

sore throat.Once mature, the virus causes the sufferer to lose function of their liver

and

kidneys. They will also start to hemorrhage blood from both inside and outside of their body.Luckily, Ebola can only be transmitted via bodily fluids and tissues -- it is not an airborne virus like the flu

. That said, if it is contracted the victim has a 50% chance of survival -- and that is being generous. Some sources put the mortality rate as high as 90%."But what about my dog?!"

Can Your Dog Get Ebola?

Ebola-2

So, can your dog get Ebola?As it happens, cases of Ebola have been reported in monkeys, apes, rodents, pigs, bats, porcupines, and dogs.Dogs are likely to contract Ebola as a result of eating or coming in contact with an infected animal, likely a fruit bat or a mouse. If your dog is notorious for bringing home

little โ€œpresentsโ€ it may be a good idea to keep a closer eye on them.An important caveat is, while dogs are able to contract Ebola, they do so asymptomatically. That means, while they can be a carrier of Ebola, they wonโ€™t present any of the signs and will therefore remain unaffected by the condition.The fact that they can be a carrier, however, means that they are able to pass the virus on to us, which could present a problem. The odds that you would eat a fruit bat are very low (I hope), but the odds that your dog would lick your face after eating a fruit bat are much higher.

What Can I Do?

Ebola-4

For starters, try not to worry about it.The outbreak has been, by-in-large, contained to West Africa (aside from Nancy Writebol, who has been quarantined and is under constant surveillance). The risk of you or your dog coming into contact with a carrier of Ebola is astronomically slim.If you do suspect that you, your dog, or anyone else may have contracted the virus, stay calm. Contact your physician

and vet, as well as the CDC, as soon as possible. The most important thing when dealing with a virus like Ebola is containing the outbreak.Unfortunately, as of now, there is still no cure for Ebola, but researcher are working around the clock to finally put this virus to bed.
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Sources: Center for Disease Control - Ebola Virus Antibody Prevalence in Dogs and Human Risk  NY Times - Atlanta Hospital Admits Second American With Ebola  Yahoo News - US Ebola Outbreak 'Possible' But Likely Not Large: CDC Chief  DogChannel - Ebola Virus and Our Dogs

Sources:CDC - Ebola Virus Antibody Prevalence in Dogs and Human RiskCDC - Questions and Answers on EbolaNPR - What's My Risk Of Catching Ebola?

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