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Animals and Science in the Classroom

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ebola cdc

Ebola Virus Disease and pets

Although there have only been a fewcases of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) formerlyknown as Ebola hemorrhagic feverin the United States we remain on red alert when it comes to the disease. While the virus was thought to initially be transmitted byfruit bats (the natural Ebola virus hosts) it has also been found inother animals such as chimpanzees, gorillas, monkeys, forest antelope, porcupines and dogs. With the recent euthanasia of a beloved canine due toEbola, people are wondering how prevalent transmission is between their pet's and humans. In a popular study done in 2006, scientist documented evidence demonstratingthe factthat dogs can become infected by the virus, or produce antibodies, while remaining asymptomatic. In the locations where canine infection was prevalent, there were both animal carcasses andseveral cases of Ebola virus disease noted in humans. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention argues against the euthanasia of dogs that test positive as they appear enable to actually transmit the virus to humans.As you may have noticed, cats are not on the list of animals susceptible to EVD, although this may just be because no cases have yet been noted.

Keeping in mind the gravity of the situation, giving student's information about national and international occurrences is a great way to engage them while delivering useful educational material. If you decide to do further research on animals and EVD some useful websites are:

WHO: World Health Organization
CDC: Center for Disease Control and Prevention
AVMA: American Veterinary Medical Association


photo: CDC

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