MADRID (TheBlaze/AP) — Despite the family's objections, Madrid's regional government said it's going to kill the pet dog of a Spanish woman who became infected with Ebola.
Authorities said in a statement Tuesday that available scientific knowledge indicates there's a risk the dog could transmit the deadly virus to humans.
The Spanish nursing assistant became the first case of Ebola being transmitted outside of West Africa after she cared for a Spanish priest in Madrid who died of Ebola last month. She and her husband are now in quarantine.
A workers makes a delivery at the entrance of the Carlos III hospital in Madrid, Spain, Tuesday, Oct. 7, 2014 where a Spanish nurse who is believed to have contracted the ebola virus from a 69-year-old Spanish priest was being treated after testing positive for the virus. Raising fresh concern around the world, the nurse in Spain became the first person known to catch Ebola outside the outbreak zone in West Africa. (AP /Paul White)
The government said the dog, named Excalibur, would be euthanized in a way to avoid suffering and using bio-security measures that it did not specify. Its body will later be incinerated.
A study published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2005 suggested that dogs could be infected by the virus, but said that the infections were asymptomatic.
"Given the frequency of contact between humans and domestic dogs, canine Ebola infection must be considered as a potential risk factor for human infection and virus spread," the study said. "Human infection could occur through licking, biting or grooming. Asymptomatically infected dogs could be a potential source of human Ebola outbreaks and of virus spread during human outbreaks, which could explain some epidemiologically unrelated human cases."
Three additional people were placed under quarantine Tuesday for possible Ebola infection at a Madrid hospital after having contact with the nurse who became infected while working there. More than 50 others were being monitored.
The nurse's case highlighted the dangers health care workers face while caring for Ebola patients — more than 370 health care workers in the hardest-hit countries of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone have died.
Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University, said her case shows that health workers can be at risk not only in West Africa but in the sophisticated medical centers in Europe and the United States.