Questions and Answers about Ebola and Pets

The ongoing epidemic of Ebola in West Africa( has raised several questions about how the disease affects the animal population, and in particular, the risk to household pets.While the available information suggests the virus may be found in several kinds of animals, CDC, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the American Veterinary Medical Association do not believe that pets are at significant risk for Ebola in the United States.

More information about Ebola and pet dogs and cats

CDC, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the American Veterinary Medical Association, and many other partners worked together to develop additional guidance for the U.S. pet population.

How are animals involved in Ebola outbreaks?

Because the natural reservoir host of Ebola has not yet been confirmed, the way in which the virus first appears in a human at the start of an outbreak is unknown. However, scientists believe the first patient becomes infected through contact with an infected animal, such as a fruit bat or primate (apes and monkeys). This is called a spillover event. Person-to-person transmission follows and can lead to large numbers of affected persons. In some previous Ebola outbreaks, primates also were affected by Ebola and multiple spillover events occurred when people touched or ate infected primates. In the current West African epidemic, animals have not been found to be a factor in ongoing Ebola transmission.

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