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Public health
Assessing the risk to people from pets exposed to Ebola virus

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VETERINARY and public health authorities in Europe should work together on a case-by-case basis to assess the risk to human health posed by a pet that has been exposed to the Ebola virus, according to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).

The recommendation is made in a recently published scientific report from the EFSA and ECDC. The report, which considers dogs and cats only, on the grounds that these are the most popular pets in Europe, was produced in response to a request from the European Commission for advice on the risks relating to pets that had been in contact with people infected with Ebola virus. The EC asked the EFSA and ECDC to take into account debate about the possible role of dogs in spreading the virus when preparing their advice.

In their report, the EFSA and ECDC note that there have been no publications reporting experimental studies of Ebola virus infection in pets, nor have there been any reports of dogs or cats becoming sick with Ebola virus disease or of being able to spread the virus …

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