Dallas Ebola Victim’s Dog to Have Feces Tested for Virus

he dog of Nina Pham, the Dallas nurse who contracted Ebola from a Liberian patient, will have his urine and feces collected and tested for the fatal virus.

The testing of Bentley, a long-eared spaniel, will begin tomorrow and occur two more times until his 21-day quarantine period ends Nov. 1, said Sana Syed, a spokeswoman for Dallas, by telephone today.

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The city’s animal-services department has taken care of Bentley since Oct. 11, after his owner was confirmed to have Ebola. It took time for officials from Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and state and federal health agencies to determine how to best test the dog since this situation hadn’t occurred before, Syed said.

“He’s not showing any signs” of illness, Syed said. “There are no health concerns. Our hope is for the best.”

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Pham, 26, became the first person to get infected with Ebola in the U.S. after taking care of Thomas Eric Duncan at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas. Duncan, who traveled to the U.S. from Liberia last month, died from the disease Oct. 8.

While canines can be infected with Ebola, they haven’t been known to exhibit symptoms. Studies haven’t definitively ruled out the risk of Ebola transmission between domesticated animals and humans. Excalibur, the dog owned by a Spanish nursing assistant infected with Ebola, was euthanized this month.

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Dan Mullin is an active writer and editor for the Pluto Daily who covered the 2014 Ebola Outbreak. Mullin attended the Wake Forest School of Medicine before leaving to pursue his lifelong science goal of allowing humans to live forever via a computer/brain transfer.