Risk related to household pets in contact with Ebola cases in humans


European Food Safety Authority
EFSA Journal
EFSA Journal 2014;12(12):3930 [12 pp.].

EFSA and ECDC wish to thank the members of the networks: Franz J. Conraths, Thora Jóhanna Jónasdóttir, Berit Tafjord Heier, Maria Helena Menezes Maia, Anette Botner, Line Vold, Martin H. Groschup, Karine Petit, Helen Roberts, Luis Romero, Claude Saegerman and Olaf Stenvers for the preparatory work on this scientific output. EFSA and ECDC wish to thank Arjan Stegeman and Casey Barton Behravesh for reviewing the draft document. EFSA and ECDC wish to thank EFSA staff: Marianne Carson, Andrea Gervelmeyer and Franck Berthe and ECDC staff: Céline Gossner, Herve Zeller and Denis Coulombier for the support provided to this scientific output.

European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control
Scientific Report of EFSA
On request from
European Commission
Question Number
28 November 2014
Published in the EFSA Journal
4 December 2014
European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), Parma, Italy

In response to a request from the European Commission to provide advice on risks related to pets having been in contact with people infected with Ebola virus, EFSA and ECDC have jointly prepared a rapid assessment. The assessment addresses three questions: (i) the probability of a pet being in contact with a human Ebola virus disease case; (ii) the probability of a pet being exposed to Ebola virus; and (iii) the probability of a pet infected or contaminated with Ebola virus being capable of transmitting the virus to an uninfected human. This assessment covers dogs and cats as they are the most common pets in Europe. The situation in Europe is different from the one in Western Africa, the area affected by the current Ebola virus (EBOV) epidemic. In Europe, situations where a pet becomes infected through contact with an infected human are likely to bevery rare. In the event of contact with an infected human, the probability of a pet becoming infected, or to act as a fomite, can range from very low to high. However, this probability is associated with high uncertainty. In addition, there is high uncertainty about viraemia and virus excretion in pets. The probability of human exposure to the virus through contact with exposed pets is difficult to assess and may range from very low to high depending on the specific circumstances. It is recommended that risk be assessed jointly by veterinary and public health authorities using a case-by-case approach. In the absence of information about possible EBOV infection in pets and the potential for onward transmission, full precautionary measures should be taken when handling pets of persons infected with EBOV. Although it should not be considered a priority during outbreaks, sharing any information that could help to improve our understanding of EBOV in pets and other domestic animals is important for national and international stakeholders.

Ebola, virus, pets, dogs, cats, assessment, transmission
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