CDC suspends certain dogs from entering the US 0:45
The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said Monday it will suspend the entry of dogs from more than 100 countries where rabies still spreads among dogs.
The decision will affect dog rescue missions, dog breeder imports and people who bring pets to the United States, the CDC said.
It's due to a combination of factors: the pandemic, a lack of facilities to safely quarantine dogs, and three recent incidents of infected dogs being brought into the country, the CDC said.
"This suspension applies to all dogs, including puppies, emotional support dogs, and dogs that traveled outside the United States and returned from a high-risk country," the CDC said in a statement.
“This action is necessary to ensure the health and safety of dogs imported into the United States and to protect public health against the reintroduction of variants of the canine rabies virus.
The suspension is temporary and will be reviewed periodically, "the statement added.
Rabies is the deadliest virus that spreads to both people and dogs.
There is no reliable cure, although vaccines can prevent it after exposure.
Mexico is the first country to eliminate human rabies transmitted by dogs
A woman dies after a rabies cat bite 0:48
The CDC prohibits the entry of dogs from these Latin American countries
The CDC published a list of high-risk countries where animals can contract canine rabies.
"If a country or political unit is not on the above list, it is not considered a high risk of importation of canine rabies to the United States," says the CDC page.
"Therefore, if the country is not on the list, the CDC strongly recommends presenting a certificate of vaccination against rabies, although it is not required for entry to the United States."
In this link you can consult other countries in the world that also have this prohibition.
What about the rabies vaccine?
The United States requires evidence of rabies vaccination to import animals from countries where the virus still circulates, but some have escaped.
Since 2015 there have been three separate imports of rabid dogs.
All of these dogs were rescue dogs that had what appeared to be a valid rabies vaccination certification upon import, ”Pieracci said.
Each case cost public health officials $ 500,000 to track and trace people or animals that may have been exposed to the dogs, the CDC said.
"There were several dogs that had contact with the rabid dogs and had to be quarantined for a period of four to six months," Pieracci said.
"It's a very expensive and time-consuming event when importing a mad dog."
Rabies is transmitted through saliva.
Vaccination can prevent symptoms if the vaccine is given on time, but once symptoms start, there is almost no hope.
The suspension will only affect about 6% of the 1 million dogs that are imported into the US.
Man dies of rabies after cat bit him in Morocco
The risk of bringing rabies dogs
"If these dogs that come from high-risk countries have not been properly vaccinated, there is a risk that they could bring the virus into the country," Dr. Emily Pieracci, veterinary medical officer with the Division of Global Migration and Quarantine, told CNN. from the CDC.
“I think it is important to emphasize that this is a temporary suspension.
We recognize that this is not the long-term solution, "he said.
The initial suspension is likely to be 12 months, he said.
But, he said, the pandemic has disrupted vaccination programs for both animals and people, and the risk of bringing in a rabies-infected dog is higher than before.
Additionally, CDC resources are scarce and it will be difficult to inspect paperwork and animals at points of entry when CDC experts are needed for other matters.
The CDC has found several cases of falsified vaccination certificates, for example, he said.
And the CDC isn't the only organization trying too hard.
"The pandemic created an unsafe environment for dogs," Pieracci said.
With fewer flights scheduled and fewer staff at airports, dogs often waited long periods in their cages in unsafe conditions, especially if they were turned away because owners couldn't document that they had been properly vaccinated.
"They had to face long and extended waiting times before being returned to their home country," he said.
Some were sick and some even died.
Unlike countries like Britain that routinely quarantine imported animals to ensure they are not infected with rabies, the United States lacks secure quarantine facilities for imported dogs.
The suspension will affect dog rescue missions and could affect soldiers bringing rescue dogs from, say, Afghanistan, Pieracci said.
“There are a limited number of exemptions for Department of Defense personnel who are moving to the United States and who are moving their personal pets.
It is not their job to bring rescue dogs, ”he said.
But they will have to apply for the exemption and follow strict protocols.
That will include certifying vaccination certificates and doing a blood test on the dog to show that it has antibodies to rabies.
"We're going to make sure the dogs are microchipped so the dogs don't change at the last minute," Pieracci said.
Rabies, a deadly virus for both dogs and humans
Anger is not a trivial concern.
It kills more than 99% of the people known to have been infected.
Once people start showing symptoms, they will almost certainly die.
Only a few children have been saved by a complex treatment regimen.
Rabies kills about 59,000 people each year in 150 countries, with 95% of cases in Africa and Asia, according to the World Health Organization.
It says that 99% of cases come from dog bites.
"Due to lack of information and uncertain estimates, this number is likely to be a huge underestimate," says WHO.
The CDC declared the United States a canine rabies free territory in 2007. That's just one strain of rabies.
Other strains infect bats, raccoons, and other animals are still common in the United States, and almost any strain can infect any mammal.
"It could cost millions of dollars to remove it again," Pieracci said.
In the United States, one to three human cases are reported each year, mostly people infected by bats.
"A measure of protection"
"This will not affect most people who want to travel with their dogs," Pieracci said.
«We are animal lovers.
We support people who want to import dogs from abroad, but we really want to make sure it is done safely.
This is not our final goal.
We do not want this to be the permanent answer, "he added.
"But we need some time to find a better system to make sure that rabies is not reintroduced into the United States."
CDC's suspension will be published in the Federal Register and a 30-day comment period will run until July 14 before the suspension takes effect.
The American Veterinary Medical Association supported the proposal.
"The AVMA supports actions that ensure good rabies control, and the CDC's action is a strong measure at this time to protect the health of animals and humans," said AVMA President Dr. Douglas Kratt.
“While several strains of rabies continue to circulate in the United States, the canine strain was eliminated here almost 15 years ago.
It is important that we control the virus and take the necessary measures to reduce the risk that this strain is reintroduced into the country, or that human and animal lives are endangered due to the importation of infected animals.