Rabid Dog From Iraq Prompts Health Warning

A mixed-breed dog imported from Iraq had to be euthanized after it was found to have rabies.

Posted: October 9, 2008, 5 a.m. EDT

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a national public health warning against rabies after a rabid dog was shipped from Iraq into the United States.

The 11-month-old mixed-breed dog was among a shipment of 24 dogs and two cats that arrived at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey from Iraq in June as part of an international animal rescue operation, according to CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, published Oct. 3. The goal of the operation was to reunite servicemen returning to the United States with animals they had adopted in Iraq.

According to the report, the dog became ill on June 8, three days after arrival, and was taken to the veterinarian the following day. It was hospitalized with fever, diarrhea, wobbly gait, agitation, and crying. The dog’s condition deteriorated and it was later euthanized on June 11. Specimen testing confirmed rabies on June 18.

The other pets, who had been shipped to 16 states (California, Colorado, Connecticut, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, and Washington), have all been accounted for and are being held for six months in quarantine.

At press time, no clinical signs consistent with rabies had been reported.

These findings underscore the need for vigilance regarding rabies during animal importation, the CDC said in its report. It also highlights the need for public education about rabies incidence in other countries.

The CDC advises that travelers should not pet stray animals in areas that are endemic for rabies, such as Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and parts of Latin America.

In addition, travelers should not adopt stray animals without acquiring a veterinarian’s health assessment and ensuring proper animal vaccination for importation.

Travelers also should consider their potential for rabies exposure from animals, understand proper wound management, and promptly report animal bites to healthcare providers, according to CDC.


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Lorie   Omaha, NE

1/26/2009 11:05:01 AM

What about all the pets and animals here in the US that might have been expose too. Don't we have enough of our own rescue animals that need homes. According to the Humane Society and rescue groups there are millions of animals needing adoption here in the US. Why take the chance of exposing your pet and others here in the US?

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Miss E   Colorado Springs, CO

11/17/2008 7:58:32 PM

Heck people, feel sorry for the U.S. Soldiers that have been bit by rabid dogs in Iraq. My husband and 4 other people were bitten by rabid dogs in the past week. He got 6 stitches in his face and he's up for the rest of his innoculations (so are the other people). Of course the dog was put down by the MP's before it could bite anyone else. All my husband and his guys were doing was running for PT. The dog was acting aggessive and attacked him after attacking another person on base. I don't think that it was a bad deal for that dog to be put down at all. Even when military service members make a PCS move, in some countries dogs are put into quarantine for 6 months to assure that the dog doesn't have rabies. Why isn't that the case here in this story?

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bea   el cerrito, CA

10/16/2008 3:19:10 PM

Good factual article

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Cheryl   Conway, MO

10/9/2008 6:00:13 PM

How sad for that dog, but even sadder for the animals who have to be quarentined for 6 months.

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