CDC investigating after dog brought to US from Azerbaijan through Chicago O’Hare Airport contracts rabies

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WEST CHESTER, Pennsylvania – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is conducting an investigation in multiple states after a dog who was brought into the United States through Chicago’s O’Hare Airport contracted rabies.

The CDC said an international rescue group brought the dog to the US from Azerbaijan.

It was on a plane with 33 other dogs and a cat that landed in O’Hare on June 10th.

This dog had been adopted by a family in Chester County, Pennsylvania, but within a few days it began to behave strangely.

“Sometimes it’s a behavior change, sometimes it’s a paralysis, often it’s not your typical cujo where they get aggressive and try to bite everything,” said Dr. Rob Mowday, veterinarian for West Chester Animal Emergency.

Health experts said cases like this are why vaccinating your animals is so important.

Dog vaccines are required at most dog parks, and owners said this is the only way to feel safe.

RELATED: CDC Suspends Imports of Dogs from Countries at High Risk of Rabies

“It’s crucial. I want her to be around for as long as possible. She’s part of the family,” said Danny Reiner of Exton, Pennsylvania.

He’s one of many pet owners there who said they had no idea there was a rabid dog in the county.

“I would like to know where the dog that caused this came from,” said Michael Hart of West Goshen Ward.

Dr. Mowday said the canine variant of rabies was eradicated 30 years ago in the United States, but is still widespread in other countries. Due to the long incubation period, it can be difficult to spot at first.

“It can take up to six months from the time the dog is infected before it shows the first signs. Sometimes they were even vaccinated during that time, ”he said.

According to the CDC, the dog was infected with rabies before it came to the United States. The Pennsylvania Department of Health said the dog needed to be euthanized. There are currently 13 known people.

Dr. Mowday said the best way to keep yourself and your pet safe is to keep up to date with recordings.

“That’s the most important thing. The vaccines are very effective, and when you vaccinate your pet, you’re protecting yourself too,” he said.

State officials said if you have been exposed to this animal you should contact the Chester County Health Department.

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