Importing a rabies dog into the US triggers an investigation in several countries

FILE – In this Monday, April 22, 2019, file photo, a plane flies over the South Air Traffic Control Tower at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. A mad dog imported into the United States on June 10, 2021 has sparked a multistate public health survey. Health officials say an international group of rescue animals has transported 33 dogs and one cat from Azerbaijan to Uhair. (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato, file)

New York (AFP) – A mad dog imported to the United States this month has sparked a public health investigation in several states.

Health officials say a dog brought to the United States from Azerbaijan and who ended up with a family in Chester County, Pennsylvania, began behaving strangely. He was later tested for anger and repression. At least 12 people were exposed to the animal.

The dog was one of 34 animals – 33 dogs and one cat – imported by Animal Rescue from Azerbaijan at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport on June 10.

The animals were not in the main cabin or the main airport lounge. Travelers through O’Hare are not considered to be at risk, but health officials are checking to see if other animals on the trip have been infected and are still tracking down new pet owners.

Rabies is no longer regularly common among dogs in the United States, but imported animals are considered to be at risk of a resurgence of the disease.

Federal agencies are working to conduct investigations with health officials in Pennsylvania, Illinois, Indiana, New Jersey and New York.

The incident marks the fourth rabies dog to be imported into the United States since 2015. The previous three were rescue dogs that arrived with rabies vaccination certificates that were later proven to be false.

This week, the CDC announced that, starting July 14, it will impose a one-year ban on dogs from more than 100 countries, including Azerbaijan, where rabies remains a problem. The ban was imposed due to the large number of puppies being denied entry because they were not old enough to be fully vaccinated.

The Associated Press’s Department of Health and Science receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. AP is solely responsible for all content.

Earl Warner

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