Nina Pham, the nurse who became the first person to contract the deadly Ebola virus on American soil, was reunited with her dog in Dallas Saturday, after the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel was declared not to have the disease and released from his three-week quarantine.
The reunion with the dog, who’s just shy of 2 years old, came 8 days after Pham was found to be free of Ebola and released from a special facility at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland.
The fate of the dog, Bentley, has been much discussed, particularly after another dog, Excalibur, was euthanized on Oct. 8 at the apartment of his owner, a Spanish nurse who contracted Ebola. That action led to both an outcry and questions about how much we know about how the virus might interact with dogs.
Saying it had been “a tough month,” Pham thanked the Dallas Animal Services staff for taking care of the dog. Local TV WFAA says the news conference also featured County Judge Clay Jenkins and Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, who said, “We are thrilled with this day for a lot of reasons, but basically it’s a human story.”
Pham was the first of two nurses at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital who were diagnosed with Ebola after caring for Thomas Eric Duncan, who died of the disease in early October. The second nurse in that case, Amber Vinson, was declared healthy and released from Emory University Hospital in Atlanta Tuesday.
The condition of another U.S. health worker who has contracted Ebola, Dr. Craig Spencer, was upgraded today by the hospital that’s treating him in New York City. The NYC Health and Hospitals Corporation said it’s “updating his condition to ‘stable’ from ‘serious but stable,'” adding that he would remain in isolation.