'No evidence of Ebola being passed by dogs'

Demonstrators with pets hold signs in support of Excalibur, the dog of the Spanish nurse who contracted Ebola, in Alcorcon, outside Madrid.

There is no clear evidence of Ebola transmission from dogs to human beings, the Ministry of Public Health said yesterday in response to the Spanish government's decision to euthanise the dog of an infected woman.

The deputy director-general of the ministry's Department of Disease Control, Dr Opas Karnkavinpong, said dogs could get Ebola like other animals such as monkeys and bats but it was unclear if the disease could be transmitted from dogs to humans.

As the deadly virus continues to spread around the world, Opas said the authorities were closely monitoring the country's Ebola prevention measures including keeping an eye on incoming flights and communities.

Preparations were also in place to treat any patient, he said. There have been no reported Ebola cases in Thailand. This week, scores of animal rights activists worldwide failed to stop Spanish authorities from euthanising Excalibur, the dog owned by nurse Teresa Romero Ramos.

On Tuesday, officials from Madrid's regional government got a court order to put the dog down despite uncertainty over whether it was infected with the disease or could spread it even if it were.

Nutch prasopsin, of the renowned Toon Hua Khong Bao Facebook page, said the Spanish government had over-reacted.

"It was unfair to already judge that we should take away this life where there is no evidence showing [it has the disease]," she said.

"An animal's life is as precious as that of a human being." The campaign was driven on social media.

On Twitter #SalvemosaExcalibur, "Let's Save Excalibur", was tweeted nearly 400,000 times in 24 hours.

At the same time, a petition on the Change.org website demanding the dog's life be spared garnered more than 380,000 signatures.

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