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Monkeypox Home >
Questions and Answers: Quarantine and Euthanasia of Animals Affected by the Monkeypox Outbreak
Based on the July 1, 2003 Guidance for State and Local Governments
Download PDF version formatted for print Adobe Acrobat Reader (119 KB/2 pages)

What animals should be euthanized according to CDC recommendations?
To protect people, pets and domestic and wild animals in the United States from the spread of monkeypox, on July 1, 2003, CDC issued recommendations to state and local government about the euthanasia (humanely putting to sleep) of certain animals. This included all African rodents from a shipment of animals imported from Ghana to Texas on April 9, 2003 that has been traced as the original source of monkeypox in the United States. The animals in the African shipment include tree squirrels, rope squirrels, Gambian giant pouched rats, brush-tailed porcupines, striped mice, and dormice.

In addition, it is recommended that any prairie dogs that may have come in contact with any of these animals be euthanized. Prairie dogs that have been housed at an infected premise (defined as a location that housed animals meeting the suspect, probable, or confirmed case definition for monkeypox), either residential or commercial, should also be euthanized. These measures are considered essential in order to address the threat of monkeypox effectively.

What about recommendations for quarantine?
CDC is recommending that other animals that may have come into contact with any of the African rodents or prairie dogs that may be carrying monkeypox should be quarantined for six weeks. The 6-week quarantine period should begin with the last exposure to one of the implicated animals. The quarantine recommendation includes dogs, cats, other pets, and domestic animals. Read the Updated Interim Infection Control and Exposure Management Guidance in the Health-Care and Community Setting for Patients with Possible Monkeypox Virus Infection for quarantine instructions.

What should veterinarians, pet sellers, and other people affected by the quarantine do to have the quarantine lifted from their property?
The CDC recommends that people euthanize any African rodents from the implicated tainted April 9, 2003 shipment (see the complete list in the first response above) and any prairie dogs that may have come into contact with the African rodents from this shipment or with other exposed/infected prairie dogs. Other mammals on the premises, including pets and domestic animals, will need to be quarantined for 6 weeks in accordance with the guidelines spelled out in the interim guidances and recommendations for infection control. These guidelines may be found online.

Euthanasia of animals that fit the definitions of suspect, probable, or confirmed cases, and quarantine of exposed animals, is necessary to prevent the spread of monkeypox and to help ensure that the disease does not become established in North America.

CDC guidance alternately states that quarantines may be lifted immediately if all mammals on a quarantined premise are euthanized and the premise is thoroughly cleaned and disinfected before it is restocked.

Why were new guidelines that call for euthanizing certain animals issued?
As more is learned about the monkeypox outbreak in the United States, recommendations to protect the nation's public health are revised accordingly. The new interim guidance to state and local government to lift quarantine and euthanize animals affected by the monkeypox outbreak attempts to balance the prudent use of quarantine and euthanasia of exposed animals in order to prevent additional infections of humans and other animals.

Can I be forced to turn over my pet (prairie dog, Gambian giant rat, etc.) to be euthanized?
These guidelines do not impose federal legal requirements for euthanasia, and are intended for guidance purposes only. State or local authorities, however, may have separate legal authority to require euthanasia of exposed or infected animals. CDC recommends that you contact your state and local health department for more information. Contact information for state and local health departments may be found online.

Can my pet be tested to see if it has monkeypox?
No. Tests to determine if a live animal is infected with monkeypox are still under development and not yet available for this purpose.

How can I clean out a contaminated area?
Contaminated surfaces should be cleaned and disinfected using standard household cleaners or disinfectants in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions. The animal's bedding, cage, toys, or food and water bowls should not be disposed with household trash or at a dump or landfill because it may be infectious. Contact the state or local health department for instructions. Follow the laundry steps provided online.

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