Veterinarian Compares Ebola, Africa Horse Sickness Travel Restrictions – Investigation Pending! 

Veterinarian Compares Ebola, Africa Horse Sickness Travel Restrictions – Investigation Pending!  

Summary of eRumor:

A veterinarian from Idaho said in a “letter to the editor” that horses imported from African countries face stricter screening and quarantine measures than human travelers who could carry the Ebola virus.

The Truth:

This eRumor makes true claims about travel protocols for African Horse Sickness and Ebola, but hasn’t yet confirmed its authorship.

The letter to the editor does not appear on the Lewiston Morning Tribune’s website. However, Dr. David Rustebakke is a real veterinarian who specializes in large animals and equine reproduction at Rustebakke Veterinary Services in Lewiston, Idaho. reached out to Dr. Rustebakke to confirm whether or not he wrote the letter. Future updates will be posted here.

African Horse Sickness dates back to the 1950s. A major epidemic spread through Africa from 1959-1961 and reached as far as Arabia, Pakistan and India. In all, 300,000 horses were killed in that outbreak. More recently, African Horse Sickness outbreaks have been reported in a number of sub-Saharan countries in Africa, according to the Merck Veterinary Manual.

It’s true that USDA requires that horses imported from countries affected by African Horse Sickness be quarantined for 60 days before entering the U.S, according to the American Horse Council.

It’s also true that screening and quarantine requirements for Ebola are more lax.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced Ebola travel restrictions on October 22, 2014. Passengers who travel from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea were required to fly into one of five airports that had enhanced screening and additional resources in place. But no quarantine requirements were placed on civilian travelers. 

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel did, however, approve a 21-day quarantine for U.S. troops who return from West Africa on October 29, 2014, to help prevent the spread of Ebola.

Posted 11/05/14