Here’s the kind of good news that I like to write up: Bentley, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel owned by Dallas nurse Nina Pham, has tested negative for Ebola. He still has about nine days to stay in quarantine, but the fact that he’s made it this far is a good sign. Even better news: Pham herself, who was diagnosed with Ebola earlier this month, is getting better. Health officials announced on Tuesday that her condition had been upgraded from “fair” to “good.”
Dallas Animal Services and Adoption Center is regularly updating its Facebook page with pictures of Bentley. He seems to be cheerful and in good health, despite being in a strange environment surrounded by people in bright yellow hazmat suits.
The truth is, Bentley’s quarantine has been an example of over-cautiousness from the beginning, perhaps just a few millimeters away from panic. Since Ebola first became an issue in the United States, medical experts have been clear on this point: There is no evidence that Ebola can be transmitted between humans and dogs or cats. A FAQ page on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention puts it plainly:
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 where Ebola is present, 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.
Of course, that fact didn’t stop health officials in Barcelona from euthanizing Excalibur, a dog whose owner Maria Teresa Romero Ramos was infected with Ebola. Ramos was also announced to be free of the virus this week.
Although there’s little chance of Ebola transmission between dogs and humans, we’re very happy that the Texas authorities seem to have handled the situation well, and we look forward to hearing that Bentley — and his owner — can go home again.
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