Dallas Ebola Patient's Dog Will Be Kept Safe, Mayor Says

PHOTO: A hazmat worker finishes cleaning outside the apartment building of a hospital worker, Oct. 12, 2014, in Dallas.PlayLM Otero/AP Photo
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A dog belonging to a Texas health care worker who tested positive for Ebola will not be euthanized, unlike a recent decision in Spain, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings told USA Today.

“This was a new twist,” Rawlings said. “The dog’s very important to the patient and we want it to be safe.”

The patient’s dog remains inside her Dallas apartment, with local SPCA and animal control officials helping to monitor the situation, authorities said.

The decision comes days after Spanish health officials euthanized a dog, Excalibur, a light-brown mixed breed belonging to a Spanish nursing assistant who contracted Ebola. The decision to euthanize the dog drew protests, online campaigns and global concern because of uncertainty over whether the dog was also infected or risked spreading the disease to humans.

On Twitter, the hashtag #SalvemosaExcalibur — "Let's Save Excalibur" — was tweeted nearly 400,000 times in 24 hours, making it the social networking site's second most popular meme worldwide. That outpaced new mentions of Justin Bieber, and was second only to a hashtag drawing attention to a Syrian village on the border with Turkey under attack from the Islamic State militant group.

There is no documented case of Ebola spreading to people from dogs. But at least one major study suggests dogs can get the disease without showing symptoms. Experts say they are uncertain of what risk that poses to humans. Spanish authorities, though, were taking no chances.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.