Should Animals Exposed to the Ebola Virus be Immediately Euthanized?
Although Romero-Ramos wore protective clothing while treating the priests, and is only known to have entered the room where they were being treated a couple of times, she still someone contracted the Ebola virus.
She told reporters for El Pais, a Spanish newspaper, that she might have contracted the virus while removing her protective gear. No further details are known at this time about how she may have become infected. Sadly, her dog, Excalibur was also exposed to the Ebola virus.
Ebola can be transmitted to, and carried by, animals. Romero-Ramos reported "hanging out" with her dog for up to a week while she was stricken with fever. The twelve year old, yellow-haired mix did not exhibit any symptoms of the Ebola virus, and many expected he too would be put into isolation until the government had either been cleared or confirmed Ebola infection.
This did not happen. The government of Madrid made a decision to immediately euthanize the dog and then perform cremation, ostensibly to stop the spread of the virus. This despite over 325,000 signatures on a petition that asked to government of Madrid to place the dog in isolation until further testing could be done.
Although dozens of protestors attempted to stop workers from removing the confused dog from the apartment where he had lived for twelve years, they ultimately took him, and put him to death. There is no evidence that animals can tranmit the Ebola virus to humans, although humans are known to transmit to animals.
Should Excalibur have been given a chance? We will never know if he would have been found to have had the virus. The tragedy is two-fold for Maria Teresa Romero Ramos. Not only has she contracted the Ebola virus while trying to help others; now she has lost her beloved pet, Excalibur.