By MIKE STOBBE, AP Medical Writer
NEW YORK (AP) – A rabid dog imported into the United States this month sparked a public health survey in several states.
Health officials say a dog brought to the United States from Azerbaijan and ended up with a family in Chester County, Pennsylvania began to act strangely. She was later tested positive for rabies and euthanized. At least 12 people were exposed to the animal.
The dog was one of 34 animals – 33 dogs and a cat – imported to Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport on June 10 by an animal rescue organization from Azerbaijan.
The animals were not in the main cabin of the aircraft or in the main terminal of the airport. Travelers through O’Hare are not considered at risk, but health officials are checking to see if other animals on the show are infected and are still looking for the pets’ new owners.
Rabies no longer spreads regularly among dogs in the United States, but imported animals are considered a risk for new outbreaks.
The incident marks the fourth rabid dog to have been imported to the United States since 2015. The previous three were rescue dogs that arrived with rabies vaccination certificates that were later found to be fraudulent.
This week, the CDC announced that it would impose a year-long ban on dogs from more than 100 countries – including Azerbaijan – starting July 14, where rabies is still a problem. The ban comes because of an increase in the number of puppies refused entry because they were not old enough to be fully vaccinated.
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