In some of the previous Ebola outbreaks, primates were also affected by Ebola and some 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 the ongoing Ebola transmission.
What about other animals, can pets be an intermediary for the spread of the Ebola virus and what should be done? Through this article, I will help your concerns who have pets about the Ebola virus.
How is Ebola spread?
When an infection occurs in humans, the virus can spread in a number of ways to other people. Ebola is transmitted through direct contact through injured skin or mucous membranes, for example, eyes, nose, or mouth with blood or body fluids, urine, saliva, sweat, feces, vomit, breast milk, and sperm from Ebola sufferers. (Read: Get to know Ebola and take precautions as early as possible )
It is even possible that objects such as syringes that have been contaminated with body fluids from people who have Ebola or the body of someone who has died from Ebola can act as an intermediary for spreading the Ebola virus.
You need to know that Ebola is not transmitted through air or water, or in general food. Mosquitoes or other insects cannot transmit the Ebola virus. However in Africa, Ebola can spread as a result of handling of wild animals (wild animals are hunted for food) and contact with infected bats.
Only a few species of mammals such as humans, apes and monkeys have shown the ability to be infected with the Ebola virus and spread to humans. There is no evidence that mosquitoes or other insects can transmit the Ebola virus.
What types of pets are most likely to get infected with Ebola?
Animals to watch out for are monkeys, apes, or pigs which have a higher risk of becoming infected and spreading the Ebola virus if they are infected. At this time, there were no reports that dogs or cats brokered Ebola or were able to spread Ebola to other animals. Even in areas of Africa where Ebola is widespread, there have been no reports of dogs and cats mediating the Ebola virus.
Until now there has been no further research on whether pets on body parts, legs or hair can spread Ebola. However, it is important that you are vigilant when finding pets infected with Ebola should be avoided, especially those animals that have been proven through research to spread Ebola, such as monkeys, bats, chimpanzees and gorillas.
What if there are pets in an Ebola patient’s home?
The public should work with veterinarians to evaluate the risk of pets being exposed to the virus in close contact or exposure to blood or body fluids from Ebola patients. Based on this evaluation, it can determine how pets should be handled. Meanwhile, to check pets such as dogs or cats for Ebola infection if there is no exposure from someone infected with Ebola, it is not necessary. Especially if pets do not interact with sufferers or the Ebola virus.
Should you be careful when having a premate pet?
Yes, one of them is a monkey that is at risk of infecting Ebola. Symptoms of Ebola infection in monkeys include fever, decreased appetite and sudden death. Monkeys should not be allowed to have contact with anyone who can spread Ebola. However, until now this article has been written in several zoos in Indonesia, nor have monkeys infected with ebola been found in special pets.
Can bats spread Ebola?
Fruit bats in Africa are thought to be natural reservoirs that can spread Ebola, although you should be aware that bats are known to carry rabies and other diseases. To reduce the risk of disease transmission, never try to touch either a live or dead bat directly.
Can non-mammals (birds, reptiles, amphibians, or fish) spread Ebola?
There is currently no evidence that the Ebola virus can infect non-mammals such as domestic animals including birds, reptiles, amphibians, or fish. No Ebola virus was detected in the non-mammalian species collected in the Ebola outbreak in Africa.
Are there any animals that should be avoided when under active surveillance (suspected of being attacked) Ebola?
The risk of transmission to animals is low in Ebola, the potential for transmission to animals cannot be completely blamed. However, people who are under active surveillance (suspected of being attacked) should avoid direct contact with dogs, cats, livestock (eg pigs, cattle, sheep and goats), and other mammals, to prevent possible transmission of Ebola to animals.
What should I do if I have a pet and am under active supervision of Ebola?
If you become ill with fever or symptoms include severe headache, fatigue, muscle pain, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, or bruising or even bleeding not known to be associated with an existing medical diagnosis, take the following measures:
- Stop all direct contact with other people and avoid all interactions with pets, handling, kissing, sharing food, or allowing pets to lick you.
- Call a medical care facility immediately, the first indication of illness such as a higher body temperature.
- Be prepared to provide health professionals with details that include any pets you may have contact with. A veterinarian will determine if your pet is at risk of exposure to Ebola and how to care for the pet.
- Keep people and animals away from the blood or body fluids of people with ebola. If an Ebola sufferer has pets it should be placed in a chest, bathroom, or bedroom with food and water to keep the pet safe. If possible, other people in your household should handle the pet while ensuring that it is safely separated from you.
Meanwhile, if it is found that a pet has been exposed to the Ebola virus and needs to be kept in a place, the pet will be removed from the house and treated in a special quarantine facility for a minimum of 21 days. Depending on the situation, testing for the Ebola virus may be carried out. Once the vet determines that the pet is not at risk of becoming infected with Ebola, the pet will be released from special quarantine and return to its owner. Provided that once the pet is released from quarantine, the pet does not pose a risk to other people or animals. In fact, no restrictions are required on the activities of pets once released from quarantine if they are not infected with Ebola.