Thousands of taxpayer dollars and hundreds of man hours will be spent to quarantine the dog of Texas Ebola patient Nina Pham in an undisclosed location with police protection. Pham is a nurse who caught Ebola in Dallas treating Liberian national Thomas Duncan. Pham is the first American to catch the Ebola virus in the U.S.
WFAA reported Tuesday Dallas police has assigned an officer to guard the dog 24 hours a day for the duration of a 21 day quarantine. In addition, those treating the dog will be wearing full protective suits.
In contrast, Spain put down the dog of a nurse who came down with Ebola out of concerns that the dog could have been infected and spread the virus to humans or other animals.
The care for Pham’s dog is also in stark contrast of the attention paid by Dallas and the CDC to Youngor Jallah, the family caregiver for Thomas Duncan who was left with her family in her apartment for days without power and phone service such that as The Gateway Pundit reported the UK media felt compelled to contact the CDC on her behalf.
The SPCA and Texas A&M veterinarian staff are reportedly looking after the dog, a King Charles Cocker Spaniel named Bentley, at an undisclosed location. The dog was removed from Pham’s apartment Monday by a crew wearing Ebola protection suits.
WFAA reported the CDC published a French study in 2005 of 439 Ebola infected dogs, the results of which WFAA reported a CDC “expert” doubts:
“”Canine Ebola infection must be considered as a potential risk factor for human infection and virus spread. Human infection could occur through licking, biting or grooming.”
“A CDC expert told News 8 he questions the conclusion of the French study and thinks it is unlikely Bentley is infected because Pham immediately quarantined herself, and the dog had little exposure at the time his owner would have been contagious.”
WFAA previously reported an interview with Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins in which he promised to take care of the dog even it meant taking extraordinary measures.
“When I met with her parents, they said, ‘This dog is important to her, judge. Don’t let anything happen to the dog.’ If that dog has to be The Boy in the Plastic Bubble, we’re going to take good care of that dog.”
Jenkins was not quoted as saying who would be paying for the dog’s care and police protection.
The Washington Post reports the CDC is taking a “gamble” by keeping Pham’s dog alive and quarantined as there is not sufficient research on Ebola in dogs.
““We know so little about dogs and Ebola that we’ve got no idea how long to quarantine a suspected carrier of the disease. There just hasn’t been enough research done.
“In an interview with NPR, University of Pittsburgh infectious disease specialist Amesh Adalja pointed out the tragic futility of keeping exposed dogs alive. None of our current research — on incubation periods and transmission risks — applies to canines.”
…” The risks posed by an Ebola-exposed dog remain totally unclear — and that’s why Spanish officials decided to put their patient’s pup down.
“In the United States, we’re taking the opposite gamble. “The dog’s very important to the patient and we want it to be safe,” Mayor Mike Rawlings told USA Today.”
The United States and Dallas governments are taking a huge risk to human lives and expending an enormous amount of resources and taxpayer dollars to keep a dog exposed to an Ebola patient in quarantine.
There will be very little scientific benefit to mankind for this extraordinary effort. Texas A&M dean of veterinary medicine Dr. Eleanor Green told WFAA:
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“Those caring for Bentley say he will not become a research animal to test any theory. “There are no plans to experiment on this dog,” Green said. “Our only plan is to take care of the person’s pet.””
It’s one thing to risk an Ebola outbreak caring for one’s fellow man, it’s another to risk it for a pet. Hopefully the gamble will pay off but the question needs to be asked, how much is preserving a dog’s life worth to society in an Ebola outbreak?
(Note, the author is a dog lover and former dog owner. Please address your concerns to Judge Clay Jenkins and the CDC.)