WASHINGTON - The pet dog of a Texas healthcare worker who was infected with Ebola while caring for a Liberian patient will not be killed, US officials said Monday.
The American answer to the question of what to do with a dog whose owner gets Ebola contrasted starkly with what happened in Spain last week, when authorities there put down an infected nurse's dog.
"The healthcare worker had a dog, and we want to make sure we respond appropriately," said David Lakey, commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services.
"And so we are working hard to find a location to care for the dog and a location where we can have the proper monitoring of the dog."
Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings also told USA Today that the dog would be spared.
"The dog's very important to the patient and we want it to be safe," he was quoted as saying.
On Wednesday, Spanish authorities put down Excalibur, the pet dog of a nurse hospitalized with Ebola after she treated two missionaries who died of the disease in Madrid.
The dog had been put to sleep "to avoid suffering," a statement from the Madrid regional government said.
The decision sparked protests from animal rights groups, some of whom scuffled with police outside the apartment where the dog had been left by his owners when they were taken into quarantine.
Experts say there is a risk that canines may carry the deadly virus, but no evidence that they could infect humans.
More than 4,000 people have been killed by Ebola in West Africa since the beginning of the year.
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