Despite desperate pleas from the Romero family, government authorities in Madrid have announced that they will euthanize the pet dog of a Spanish nurse that contracted the Ebola virus.
Teresa Romero Ramos became the first person worldwide to contract the deadly virus outside of Africa. Teresa, 44, was part of a team of medical professionals treating a Spanish missionary that had become infected while serving in Africa, but had been returned to Spain for treatment.
However, Romero and the entire medical staff took every precaution to avoid being exposed to the virus including incinerating the missionary’s waste and belongings and wearing hazmat suits to avoid exposure.
In an attempt to both understand how Romero contracted the virus and to prevent it from spreading through Madrid, Spanish authorities have quarantined Romero’s immediate family and are attempting to track down anyone the nurse may have been in contact with.
They have also ordered the Romero’s dog, a mixed-breed named Excalibur, to be euthanized.
The Centers for Disease Control have confirmed that dogs can contract the Ebola virus and, although the virus is asymptomatic and does not make dogs sick, they can become carriers, transmitting the virus to humans. They have speculated that some cases of Ebola without a clear-cut link to an infected human may have come from dogs.
Teresa’s husband, Javier Limon Romero, told reporters, “If this problem worries them so much I think they should look for another type of alternative solution, such as putting the dog in quarantine and observation like they’ve down with me. Or perhaps they feel they should sacrifice me just in case.
“Of course a dog is easier, it doesn’t matter as much.”
Although dogs can contract the virus and transmit it to humans through direct contact such as licking, biting, or through contact with blood, they carry the virus for a very short time, do not become ill, and once the virus has left the dog’s body, are no longer contagious.
Desperate to save his dog’s life, Romero sent a call for help to a Spanish animal advocacy group to get the story out.