Ongoing investigation after rabid dog imported from Middle East ends up in Chester County – CBS Philly


WEST CHESTER, Pa. (CBS) – A multi-state investigation has been triggered by a rabid dog. The dog was one of a few dozen animals imported by a Middle Eastern animal rescue organization to Chicago’s O’Hare Airport.

The animal eventually ended up with a family in Chester County.

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Last week, the CDC issued a temporary suspension on dogs from high-risk countries, and although this is only the fourth recorded import case since 2015, Pennsylvania and New Jersey are in state alert.

“When I rescued her, it was through a well-known foundation,” said dog owner Nicole Antonini.

Pet owners are on high alert after a dog imported to the United States and placed with a Chester County family tested positive for rabies.

“I go to dog parks a lot so it was pretty alarming to make sure I didn’t know everyone who is there,” said Antonini.

The CDC confirms the dog was one of 34 animals flown to Chicago on June 10 from the Middle East, and from there distributed to animal rescue groups in five states, including Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

“The number one sign is usually a change in behavior,” said Dr. Rob Mowday of West Chester Veterinary Medical Center.

While rabies is rare in the United States because of vaccines, it is fatal if contracted.

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“If your dog has rabies, he might bite you and then you have to worry about the rabies,” Mowday said.

Health officials are not disclosing the names of animal organizations or the at least 18 people potentially exposed, but say they have contacted anyone at risk.

“If we know an animal has been in contact with a known rabid animal, we give it rabies vaccine boosters,” Mowday said.

If in doubt, take your pet to the vet.

“It can take up to six months from the time they are infected before they show any signs,” Mowday said.

The rabid dog was euthanized. The shelter where the dog or the rescue group was located has not yet been released.

Anyone with questions are urged to call their local veterinarian or the Chester County Health Department.

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Reports from Alicia Roberts of CBS3.

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